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I Love Beijing: The Films of Ning Ying

Saturday, October 25, 2008
6:30 p.m. I Love Beijing
Ning Ying (China, 2001)

Ning Ying in Person

The Beijing Trilogy accelerates to its conclusion in I Love Beijing, with jump cuts and incessant, jarring background sounds to match a motorized, amplified world. At the turn of the millennium, the bicycles of On the Beat are making way for cars on the streets, clots of traffic surrounded by high-rises under perpetual construction. Freshly divorced taxi driver Dezi (Yu Lei) roves through this transitional landscape picking up passengers and trying to pick up women; girls love men with cars, but as one of Dezi’s colleagues complains, cab drivers are nothing special anymore. Venturing from Beijing’s crass nightclubs, plush restaurants, and glossy retail complexes to its less glitzy margins, Ning evokes the layering of realities in a city with a vanishing past and a rapidly arriving future. The title may or may not be ironic.

—Juliet Clark

• Written by Ning Dai, Ning Ying. Photographed by Gao Fei. With Yu Lei, Zuo Baitao, Tao Hong. (80 mins, In Mandarin with English subtitles, Color, 35mm, From Celluloid Dreams)