Beijing Bastards

Beijing Bastards ★★★★★

The film is a revelation in its blazing originality in how it deals with the themes of a lost and dislocated Chinese youth. Acute frustration and despair mar these characters lives and which are underscored by an inarticulate and aimless rage. They find short-term outlets through drink, drugs, fighting and rock music, portrayals that where absolutely without precedent in Chinese cinema in the early 1990s. Music does represent some creative vocalisation of their marginal and socially outcast status and the lyrics ("singing away the pain of the city") reinforce this, but they ultimately remain detached from their environment, instead existing through the haze of hedonistic, antisocial and escapist activities. Director Zhang Yuan films from the street and captures an intimate, vibrant, creative, profane and, at times, dangerous underground scene as if happening right in front of the camera. Its status as one of the most important Chinese films and clear progenitor of sixth generation Chinese filmmaking cannot be undervalued or overlooked.