A poor boy from the countryisde, Guei, moves to the capital, buys an expensive bicycle and finds a job as messenger. He is married with four children and now resides in Metter, Georgia where he enjoys making muscadine wine and hopes to become a history teacher. I really enjoyed this movie for it's innocence and authentic feel. This collection discusses the different cultural themes in contemporary China as depicted via the bicycle’s symbolism. Patrick is a Savannah native and a history major at Armstrong. Eric is from Fort Myers, Florida and currently a history major at Armstrong. As a result of the plan to “let a few people get rich first,” the divides between the country and city folk and even urban poor and urban rich are constant reminders of China’s rapid economic growth over the past few decades. The attractive girl whom Guei and his friend perceived as rich is another element of the movie that is quite ironic. At the beginning of the movie, Guei presents the bicycle to his friend, both brimming with optimism in front of his quaint corner convenience stand. The first essay considers the distinctive Chinese frame of mind that motivates and inspires the characters to try to overcome their underprivileged circumstances. Like others in this generation, and in contrast with earlier Chinese filmmakers who produced mostly historical drama, Wang proposed a ânew urban Chinese cinema [that] has been mainly concerned with bearing witness oâ¦ The movie’s tragic resolution ultimately turns a coming-of-age story into a cautionary tale about market forces unleashed upon a generation that lacks any means of constraint. This is a wonderful story of a chinese migrant kid who moves from the village to Beijing to find a job and all the problems that come with it. Director Wang Xiaoshuai achieved international stardom in 2001 with âBeijing Bicycle,â which won the Jury Grand Prix Silver Berlin Award at the Berlin International Film Festival. Set in contemporary Beijing, the film traces the fortunes and misfortunes of two seventeen-year-old â¦ Lastly, the third essay places these characters’ experiences within the context of China’s ambitious policies to shed light on the overall cost to citizens. Bicycles are as synonymous with Beijing as cabs are with Manhattan, and when the hero of Wang Xiaoshuai's superb and harrowing "Beijing Bicycle" joins the swarm of â¦ The girl does not care that he has lost his bike and is so out of touch with differences between the city poor and rich that she suggests, “it’s just a bike, and you can always buy a new one again.” However, the shocking truth is that Jian cannot afford such an expense as he had to steal the money from his father just to acquire it. Shot over the course of ten years on both film and video, the film consists of a series of carefully composed tableaus of people and environments, each one more extraordinary than the last. Jian desires the bicycle for different reasons. For Guei, a newly hired courier, fresh from rural China, the bicycle guarantees his livelihood. Contemporary Beijing. Wang Xiaoshuai can roll with it / Director of 'Beijing Bicycle' doesn't let censors get in the way of his stories Bob Graham , Chronicle Senior Writer Feb. â¦ Wang's Beijing Bicycle, which was a winner at the Berlin Film Festival Silver Bears Award, was a component of producers Peggy Chiao and Hsu Hsaio-ming's 'Tales of Three Cities' series. Sadly, a relationship never came to fruition to which Guei’s friend laments, “if I only knew she was from the country.”. This story revolves around his bicycle - essentially. The company issues him a bike, which he must pay for out of his wages. When it is stolen, Guei hunts for it. on March 21, 2016. Directed by Wang Xiaoshuai. In 2001, Wang Xiaoshuai premiered his film Beijing Bicycle at the Berlin International Film Festival. Xiao Gui has just arrived from his village. Guei has just arrived from the village. Beijing: young men in packs, machismo, class divisions, violence, and indifference. Guei finds the bike and stubbornly tries to reclaim it in the face of great odds. Demographic disparities have rendered the Chinese population disconnected from itself. Wang Xiaoshuai's moving, emotional BEIJING BICYCLE tells the story of a young country boy, Guei (Cui Lin), who comes to the big city determined to make it. This suggests something about how the urban and rural Chinese ought to pursue their economic interests; in a spirit of cooperation rather than fierce cut-throat competition. With a sharing arrangement, Guei and Jian come to respect their mutual stubbornness in not relinquishing the bicycle. Throughout most of the movie Guei and Jian are at extreme odds with each other. This illustrates the complexities and tensions of surviving and negotiating one’s identity in the changing China. kiaba360 To have the bicycle is to have respect; to lose it is to lose respect. Even the poorest of poor people have access to toothpaste and insist on brushing their teeth incessantly—almost as if doing so elevates their social status and makes them appear more urban and “civilized.” Guei assimilates into city life, undergoes a transformation process learning how to deal with revolving doors and smoking cigarettes, and a rather apt distinction is embodied by the characteristics of the city poor versus the city rich. This thought subtly reveals to the viewer the peculiarity of the circumstances, indiscernible as the irony may be to the characters. The film Beijing Bicycle is an illuminating account of the effects that some of the Chinese people were exposed to and encountered as China, without hesitation, ventured down a path to fuse capitalism and socialism after 1978. Soon after arriving from the countryside, Guei receives the bicycle for his job as a delivery boy in Beijing. The separation between the two classes appears quite large indeed. His story opens with a cut and dry city life induction. Where Guei’s predicament reflects cultural shifts, Jian’s reflects economic ones. Fatefully, on the very day he earns enough to take ownership of the bicycle, it is stolen and ends up in the possession of Jian, a Beijing local schoolboy. In Wang Xiaoshuaiâs movie Beijing Bicycle, the bicycle around which the movieâs plot revolves serves as a similar status symbol to two teenagers desperately fighting for possession of it. The film was also nominated for a Golden Berlin Bear and a Golden Satellite Award for Best Motion Picture, Foreign Language. He is â¦ Director Wang Xiaoshuai ("Beijing Bicycle," "So Long, My Son") delivers an intimate, minimalist documentary with "Chinese Portrait." Guei arrives from the country: toothbrushes, hotel foyers, and Qin, a rich neighbor in high heels, dazzle him. Starring Cui Lin, Li Bin, Zhuo Xun, Gao Yuanyuan, Li Shuang, Xie Jian. Contemporary Chinese problems are resulting in a cultural crisis, because divergent social classes have been crammed into a clumsy coexistence. Originally intended merely for transportation, the Beijing bicycle turns into a symbol of identity for Guei and Jian as disenfranchised Chinese youth. The ban was evenâ¦ © 2020 Armstrong Undergraduate Journal of History, Online ISSN 2163-8551. Screenwriter: Wang Xiaoshuai, Tang Danian, Peggy Chiao, Hsu Hsiao-Ming. There's a version of the film on Vimeo that is about 5 minutes shorter than the version I've uploaded. Cast: Li Shuang Zhao Yiwei Cui Lin Li Bin Pang Yan Zhou Xun Gao Yuanyuan. The story comes full circle as both boys lose the bike in an ally brawl, but not without having learned to fight for their place in society. For Guei the bicycle is necessary for him to earn a living, but it also has symbolic and emotional value. You too can be empowered. One of the sub-plots in the movie also represents the illusory nature of the dream these teenagers are chasing. Is the the original version, or the censored version? In Beijing Bicycle, Wang gave priority in the narrative to individual growth as well as the transitions taking place within the city itself. Film, Drama. You too can have the car, the apartment, the respect” (Rob Gifford, China Road, 192). The opportunity is there but not everyone can grasp it. Beijing Bicycle. WXS Studio(Wang Xiaoshuai studio) Wang Xiaoshuai: Chinese film director, screenwriter. In the new booming economy of contemporary China, the “Chinese dream” has been described in much the same way: “You too can succeed. Wang Xiaoshuai, the director of ''Beijing Bicycle,'' is younger than Mr. Zhang, part of a generation that has concerned itself with naturalistic, sometimes â¦ Beijing Bicycle (Chinese: åä¸å²çåè½¦ ) is a 2001 Chinese drama film by Sixth Generation Chinese director Wang Xiaoshuai, with joint investment from the Taiwanese Arc Light Films and the French Pyramide Productions. Wang Xiaoshuai Shiqi sui de dan che/ Beijing Bicycle (2001) is centered upon class conflict and the urban-rural divide in capitalist China. He gets a job as a messenger. Packed in rows and racks throughout China’s capital city, bicycles line the streets in Beijing Bicycle. He served for ten years in the US Army. ... Wang Xiaoshuai. A seventeen-year-old country boy working in Beijing as a courier has his bicycle stolen, and finds it with a schoolboy his age. But for Jian to lose the bike would mean humiliation. A bike messenger faces trouble in 'Beijing Bicycle' By Richard von Busack. For both Jian and Guei to have a shot at their respective “Chinese dreams”, they eventually work out a time-sharing arrangement in which each gets use of the bicycle for certain periods of time. Beijing Bicycle is a subtle, beautifully made film and a seemingly good-natured social commentary on contemporary Beijing. These essays serve to interpret some of the many complex personal issues and social tensions that are emerging in the fast developing China as it gains more presence on the world stage. Lack of definition then breeds conflict. The “Chinese dream” is both real and somewhat of an illusion. This illustrates the complexities and tensions of surviving and negotiating oneâs identity in the changing China. Once he is able to earn 600 yuan, he will own the silver mountain bike he uses for deliveries, and will be able to make a decent living. The film stars first-time actors Cui Lin and Li Bin, supported by the already established actresses Zhou Xun and Gao Yuanyuan. As the two compete in their respective country-versus-city roles, the bicycle itself plays a part of a basic commodity, but more importantly the vehicle for a scarce sense of personal identity. When his status symbol is removed from the equation, even the rich girl interested in him at school becomes of no concern. He hopes to pursue a career in the Intelligence Community or Office of Foreign Service. synopsis. Citizens float between fleeting perceptions of an undefined area of society. The second essay then explores the characters’ self-perceptions and identity struggles shaped by the increasingly unfettered development. After retiring from his government ambitions, he hopes to settle back down in Florida to teach history. For navigating the congested metropolitan highways or the impoverished back alley districts, their widespread utility in burgeoning urban China is visually unmistakable. They are left to discover she was but a maid from the countryside. Directed by Wang Xiaoshuai. The disparity between the rural and urban mentality is striking. He finally finds a job as a delivery boy and is paid ten yuan per trip. Beijing Bicycle by Xiaoshuai Wang. with Cui Lin, Li Bin, Xun Zhou, Gao Yuanyuan, Li Shuang... Beijing today. It is his ticket to acceptance, to impressing the girl that he likes and basically to success as he defines it. Guei suffers the exact opposite fate as he is reeducated in the ways of city life. An identity crisis ensues from which one may extrapolate the whole of China is suffering—an alleged communist society practicing capitalism and plastering advertisements on any available space eyes may glance at as a mere boy navigates its streets absolutely full of people who care more about money than morality. For both of Guei and Jian, the bicycle is central to their sense of self-worth. Based on the shorter runtime, I'm going to assume that the Vimeo version is a censored copy. No parental guidance or any religious, ethical, or moral framework controlled or balanced this need. However, like all material objects, demand is often unlimited while supply is very limited. Beijing: Pyramide, 2001. The third instalment of the 2001 âSilk Screenâ Collection, Wang Xiaoshuaiâs Beijing Bicycle (2001), is an ode to the bicycle that has readily become a symbol of mainland China. DVD. Beijing Bicycle (2001) won the Grand Jury Silver Bear in Competition at the Berlinale, for a stunningly fresh image of Chinese teenagers negotiating the class gap in a new age of materialism. Literally and figuratively the bicycle built up and broke down social class structures present in contemporary China. In Wang Xiaoshuai’s movie Beijing Bicycle, the bicycle around which the movie’s plot revolves serves as a similar status symbol to two teenagers desperately fighting for possession of it. Sullen and perturbed, Jian hasn’t the wherewithal to explain that the bicycle was beyond his means to begin with. Patrick O'Conner, Victoria Do and Eric A. Curry, “Beijing Bicycle: The Cruel Story of Youth, City and Modernization in Contemporary China,” Armstrong Undergraduate Journal of History 3, no.3 (Nov. 2013). City people seem to operate and exist solely to pursue wealth and money, and in fact equate their very happiness to the amount of money they have and possessions they own. The ubiquity of such an everyday object, while reflecting the mundane and the superficial also reflects the opportunity for individual connections to be forged in a meaningful way. Guei arrives from the country: toothbrushes, hotel foyers, and Qin, a rich neighbor in high heels, dazzle him. He doesn’t need it for his livelihood, but it is no less important to him than it is to Guei. Representative works: Beijing Bicycle (2001), Shanghai Dreams (2005) , In Love We Trust (2007) and Red Amnesia(2014). Beijing Bicycle. Wang Xiaoshuai's film Beijing Bicycle covers a number of themes which other films within modern Chinese cinema tackle in various ways. However, rapid industrialization has brought together distant neighbors. He is 16. However, the boy immediately falls victim to the unforgiving corporate commerce that taints the city. The silver mountain bike his employer allows him to use will be his once he earns 600 yuan. He soon finds a job as a bike messenger in which he gets a small percentage of each delivery, working hard to build up enough credit to eventually own the bike for himself. In effect, this common sentiment foments compromise between the two. The movie is ironic as it is reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution in 1960s and 1970s when urban youth were sent to the countryside in order to receive their reeducation. The characters Guei and Jian individually struggle to navigate this uncertain landscape. While "Beijing Bicycle" gives us a colorful portrait of that sprawling city, its simplistic story lacks enough complexity to be a full-length film. Country folk resemble “the little engine that could” when compared to the city dwellers who come off as arrogant, wasteful, and condescending. Guei’s experiences in the city are a result of him trying to make a simple living as a courier. It premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival on 17 February 2001 and won the Jury Grand Prix, but was subsequently banned in Mainland China. Directed by Xiaochuai Wang. Nevertheless, Chinese artists have managed to maintain the cityâs bike-loving reputation. When Guei tracks down the bicycle, a desperate struggle ensues. While Guei appreciates his bicycle and respects its value as a tool needed in order to perform his job; Jian, a city boy, exploits the bicycle mercilessly as a status symbol that puts him above all others even though he himself is from a poor family at the bottom of the city. The film Beijing Bicycle points to the universal relevance of contemporary Chinese lives through a faithful tale about two disenfranchised Chinese youth caught up in the many idiosyncrasies of a changing society. In 1981, Wang enrolled in the high school affiliated to the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, with then intention of becoming a painter. The divide between the country and city people in the film is indeed quite rigid as Guei discovers. As a poor city teen, he has anxieties regarding his social standing amongst his peers. In his eyes, lasting in his job long enough to earn the bicycle outright will benchmark his success. Publication date 2001 Topics chinese, asian, coming of age, bicycle, beijing Language Chinese. Wide-eyed and unassuming, Guei ventures forth in his deliveries with the promise he will eventually own his bike. Directed by Wang Xiaoshuai in 2001 the film revolves around a poor country teen Guei who came to Beijing to seek work and a schoolboy Jian from a working-class family in the city. The bicycle symbolizes the illusory nature of the “Chinese dream,” the necessity of adapting the dream to meet the demands of reality, and the tragic consequences of chasing this dream. In the movie the privileged few, reaping the rewards of modernity, exist on the periphery of the average Chinese plight, represented by Guei and Jian. He is commonly grouped under the loose association of filmmakers known as the "Sixth Generation" of the Cinema of China. Beijing: young men in packs, machismo, class divisions, violence, and indifference. See what's new with book lending at the Internet Archive, Uploaded by The film is a great reminder that while China is quite a rising power, this is not without a cost to its people. In Beijing Bicycle,director Wang Xiaoshuai personalizes the urbanization of China by telling the story of Guei. Guei is a teenager from the country who lands a good job as a bicycle messenger on the teeming streets of modern-day Beijing. The two young men - and the people around them - are swept up in the youths' desperation.Â, Advanced embedding details, examples, and help, Terms of Service (last updated 12/31/2014). Owning the bicycle confirms his sense of self and sense of status within his circle of friends. The viewer is repeatedly reminded that Guei is “so stubborn.” His employers heartlessly mock him for this as they fail to understand that when his bike disappeared, so did his chances. The challenges brought about by change, modernity and commodities, the divide between the city and the countryside, personal relationships between classes and sexes, and the state of social structures within modern China are but a few. Driven to steal family savings allocated for his young stepsister’s education, Jian, like Guei, is at odds in facing the social hierarchy surrounding him. Beijing Bicycle 2001, PG-13, 113 min. Jian misplaces his sense of value in the bike, something he falsely believed made him part of a higher echelon in society. BEIJING BICYCLE. But she isn’t as rich and glamorous as she seems. Xiao, in a gesture to comfort him, remarks, “It’s just a bike.” A girl of a wealthier household, she is in no position to understand. However, there is only one bicycle and two people who need it desperately. The bike goes back-and-forth between both of them and the fight becomes increasingly frantic as both youth now view this item as central to their own identities. by Wang Xiaoshuai. Against the backdrop of a society with constantly fluctuating standards, the experience proves to be worth fighting for. A seventeen-year-old country boy working in Beijing as a courier has his bicycle stolen, and finds it with a schoolboy his age. Despite active globalization, many individuals lack an appreciable knowledge about contemporary China that could foster a deeper level of empathy. Beijing Bicycle (åä¸å²çåè½¦; Shí QÄ« Suì de DÄnchÄ; literally: ââseventeen-year-oldâs bicycleâ or âseventeen-year-old bachelor'â) is a 2001 Chinese drama film by Sixth Generation Chinese director Wang Xiaoshuai, with joint investment from the Taiwanese Arc Light Films and â¦ They realize she was just a servant for a wealthy family and enjoyed trying on clothes she could never actually afford. During the brief moments in which the bike was in each of their possessions, they each experienced a feeling of personal solidarity. In his transformation Guei has to forfeit his countryside identity in order to fully assimilate into the city. Wang's works have competed in Cannes Film Festival four times, three times in the Berlinale, and also at Venice and San Sebastian film festivals. The only thing they appear to share is a dogmatic attachment to the bike, for only they deeply feel how high the stakes are. The fight and its intensity mirror the interactions in Beijing between the city dwellers that were already facing a tough existence and the pressures added by the influx of people coming from the countryside. The bike exists as the one constant in the story around which the characters interact and project their perception onto it. THE NEOREALIST film Beijing Bicycle, by Wang Xiaoshuai, is heavily modeled on De Sica's The Bicycle Thief, but it misses the grace, the humor of its source, and can be safely categorized as regional cinema. . A student, Jian, has it; for him, it's the key to teen society - with his pals and with Xiao, a girl he fancies. Wang Xiaoshuai (simplified Chinese: çå°å¸ ; traditional Chinese: çå°å¸¥; pinyin: Wáng XiÄoshuài; born May 22, 1966) is a Chinese film director, screenwriter and occasional actor. Jian likewise finds himself contending with the skewed perceptions he attributes to the bicycle. Big business and commercialization have uprooted certain simple notions of interpersonal relations. Met with a rather shy, stubborn, and determined young man—Guei, the film details the awkwardness of the country boy in a constantly modernizing and ever-changing city atmosphere. He embarks on daily journeys riding through the many twisted and bustling streets of Beijing while trying to fit in with its native inhabitants. The “American dream” has often been defined in terms of the ability of the average person to pursue success, and over the years that success has been symbolized by various status symbols such as a house in the suburbs or a nice car. The single-minded pursuit of this bicycle caused these young men to subordinate all other values to the need to feel respected. If it is the original, which scenes were censored (Wikipedia claims there were 8 modifications to the film, plus changing the name to "Bicycle")? A large amount of emphasis is placed upon smoking cigarettes in order to look cool and fit in. Intertextuality in Beijing Bicycle Intertextuality is a concept that occurs in many mediums of art, especially film. “You must never get tired of riding this,” he says in awe of the sleek chrome finish and cutting edge gear controls. The way Jian frivolously spends his money obtaining the bike and impressing his friends at the arcade exemplifies the arrogance of youth and delinquency. In the story, after some shady business, they fight for ownership of the very same bicycle. We hope that from the chaos around the bicycle in the rapidly industrializing city of Beijing the reader can sense the seamy side of “capitalism with Chinese characteristics.”. From acclaimed director Wang Xiaoshuai (Beijing Bicycle; So Long, My Son) comes a personal snapshot of contemporary China in all it's diversity. He is supposed to pay his employer out of his proceeds until the bike is paid off, at which point he can begin earning a larger share of the proceeds. The multitude of stratifications between the greater Chinese people further complicates the issue. After earning the praises of his friends and romantic crush, Xiao, the loss of his bike leaves him out of place. So the depiction of city residents vs. peasant migrants in Beijing Bicycle is a experience that Wang knew first-hand. Drenched in irony, the film resembles modern China—a prosperous nation where people living in cities with populations exceeding millions can be left isolated and alone to fend for themselves in dark, dank corners due to a failure to adapt to China’s industrialization, globalization, and modernization. Out of eagerness, he even marks the bike for his own. He finds work with a delivery service that cleans him up, clothes him, and lends him a bicycle : a magnificent silver mountaint bike. 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