Aimless youth and former youth, whether Slacker or Clerks, films by Wong Kar-wai or Toshiya Fujita, or even my favorite Tora-san films, that seems to be what I am interested in, so no surprise that I am interested in this film, Unknown Pleasures (青の稲妻 in Japanese and 任逍遥 in Chinese) that is described as such will interest me:
Jia Zhangke’s third feature, Unknown Pleasures, is a naturalistic, nearly documentary-like examination of the lives of a group of teens and twenty-somethings in a poor city in northern China. Jia’s aesthetic is sparse and gentle. Shooting with digital video, which gives the film a rough, shot-on-the-fly quality, he documents the emptiness and stagnation that constitute life for this aimless generation, who seem to have few opportunities and little hope despite China’s prodigious leaps into the modern international economy. These young people, like friends Bin Bin (Wei Wei Zhao) and Xiao Ji (Qiong Wu), have recently finished school but they have no jobs and no prospects, so they simply drift around shiftlessly, spend dreary afternoons in front of the TV, and pursue dull and passionless relationships with girls. Xiao Ji lazily chases after the dancer Qiao Qiao (Tao Zhao) but doesn’t seem to know what to do with her once he’s got her, while Bin Bin spends quietly boring afternoons with his studious girlfriend (Qing Feng Zhou), the only character in the film who seems to have some ambition and some potential.
(from the blog Only the Cinema)
Though I keep reading that the director Jia Zhangke, was influenced by Japan’s Yasuhiro Ozu and Taiwan’s Hou Hsiao-hsien, at least in terms of the above description, it seems like it could be from a Toshiya Fujita film. Other descriptions about use of music and pop culture from outside and inside China remind me a bit of Fujita as well. I could just be projecting, however, since I haven’t seen the film and keep going back to Fujita’s films as I slowy try to watch all of them.
Anyways, it looks interesting and it is playing on 35 mm film — though it was shot with digital video. Guess a difference of a film made in the early 2000s is that even if it was shot on digital video it was screened on film. I am going to try to make the trip out to Kita-Senju to see it.
Here are two trailers for it, one with Japanese subtitles:
and one with English subtitles:
It will showing at Cinema Blue Studio, which is located inside the Art Center of Tokyo in Kita-Senju. It currently plans to screen Unknown Pleasures from Wednesday November 7th to Tuesday November 20th at 1pm, 4pm, and 7pm.