Bikes and Accessories
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. 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. As he grows closer to his goal, the bike is stolen and ultimately winds up in the hands of Jian (Li Bin), a poor city boy who sees the bike as his only way to make friends and impress the girl he loves. With both boys claiming the bike is theirs, a series of fights ensues over what is more than just a bike--it has become a symbol of success, power, and greed in a changing country.Lin and Bin are excellent as the two boys battling over the bike; it is heartbreaking to watch Lin keep a tight hold of the bike even as Bin and his friends beat him senseless. Cinematographer Lui Jie depicts a very different China, one that is filled with dangerous, meandering alleys and frightening poverty. The film, almost devoid of color save for a young woman's red dress and shoes, is reminiscent of Vittori De Sica's BICYCLE THIEF and Peter Yates's BREAKING AWAY; the freedom the bicycle represents overwhelms both young boys as they risk their lives to hold on to it. The film won a Silver Berlin Bear for its honest, gritty, heartfelt depiction of a Beijing that is not often seen in the West.
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