Director: Wang Jing
Year: 2007
Rating: 6.0
Country: China

This very authentic slice of life look at students in a small north China town is perhaps too slowly paced and overly long at 140 minutes, but it still manages to intriguingly pull the viewer into lives that are in truth fairly ordinary – showing that little dramas are all around us if we look for them. For a few weeks the film follows the lives of a handful of sixteen- year old students into the classroom and into their homes but primarily explores their interactions with one another. As we peek into their lives we see friendships begun and ended, school gangs formed and fought and romances yearned for and acted on. Surrounding the lives of these students is the crass outside world of grown-ups where the kids are witness to corruption, class status, economic blues and little hope. At the end of the film nothing very much has changed – no great dramas have unfolded – the students are just that much closer to being what and where their parents are. This is the début film from female Chinese director Wang Jing.

Written up 04/2008