Life Show

Director: Huo Jianqi

2002. English subtitles. Colour. Dolby digital stereo. 105 mins.

Another masterpiece from Nuan director Huo Jianqi, Life Show is a beautifully shot and played study of a restaurant owner coming to terms with her life and relationships in the new China. Thirty-something Shuangyang (a remarkable Tao Hong) runs a stall in an old quarter of Shanghai. While she isn’t a mother, she is in many ways the matriarch of her family, caring for her nephew, struggling to keep her brother out of trouble with drugs, and most importantly, trying to regain possession of the family home that was lost during the Cultural Revolution. When a male customer begins to show an interest in her, Shuangyang starts to believe that her lonely life can change and happiness is possible after all. The material may sound ripe for melodrama, but Huo directs with a cool, methodical hand and turns the ?lm into a spot-on portrait of life in contemporary China.

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