• | 45 Beiträge | 270 Punkte
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. 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. Guei’s bicycle smart self balancing electric scooter is stolen and sold to Jian and the events in the film become linked by the bicycle’s literal and metaphorical significance.
This collection discusses the different cultural themes in contemporary China as depicted via the bicycle’s symbolism. The first essay considers the distinctive Chinese frame of mind that motivates and inspires the characters to try to overcome their underprivileged circumstances. The second essay then explores the characters’ self-perceptions and identity struggles shaped by the increasingly unfettered development. 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. 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. 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.”