Monday, February 16, 2009

Blind Shaft (2003)

Blind Shaft (2003)

February 19th, 6:30PM in Garland 104 (2441 E. Hartford)

Mainland Chinese cinema walks a fine line when it comes to serious films critiquing the sensitive social issues that exist in modern China. One film that found itself on the wrong side of this balancing act is Blind Shaft.

Its story revolves around the illegal coal mining industry and its suicidally dangerous working conditions. This is seen through the eyes of a pare or wandering con-men who stage accidents in order to collect hush money.

In the film, the duo befriend a naive young man who has only recently left his rural village to seek work. The film then becomes equal parts coming of age story, social commentary and dark comedy. Some critics include Blind Shaft among the ranks of the neo-noire, or the contemporary examples/revivals of film noire such as Chinatown (1974) and Devil in a Blue Dress (1995).

Despite winning a wide range of international awards, it has still not been cleared for release in China. This is the first of a loose trilogy of films by director Li Yang, each one focusing on the problems of modern China. These include Blind Mountain (2007) which revolves around the sex slave trade and the still in production Blind River (2009).

Mainland China, Director Li Yang, Cast Li Qiang, Wang Shuangbao and Wang Baoqiang, 89 minutes, in Henanese with English Subtitles.

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