The Odyssey: A middle-aged man on a motorcycle
zigzagging through China in a quest for his abducted child.
A quietly beautiful and often gripping melodrama and roadmovie with
a maybe better than ever Andy Lau and
with great photography from Lee Pingbing depicting both the chinese
countryside and the crowded city streets.
Luscious, and it's always nice to see everyday pictures from nowadays
China. The film is also directed nicely by
the female director Peng Sanyan. OK, it's mainstream but it has a lot
of heart and it's not sugary, the sweet
reunion in the film between Jing Boran's Zeng and his parents in the
village felt real, as the problem of child ab-
ductions is well known in China and something all (or most) people feel
strongly about. Hence the happiness
from all villagers and bystanders that witnessed the reunion between
a lost child and his parents. I would for
sure extract some tears too if i saw such a moving scene.
Some irrelevant thoughts on China:
I'm always happy to see a film depicting nowadays China, pictures
from the lush countryside as well as pictures from the cities, of the
people and spoken in beautiful mandarin.
I'm interested in China. And YES, i'm perfectly aware of the fact that
1. Is a one party state and that the people are living under a strict
2. Has a ruthless predatory capitalistic economic system, and
3. Has enormous environmental problems with masses of people suffering
BUT still: I may be naive but i do think that China will rise from this
bad situation. That someday a Gorbatjov
figure (maybe soon) will arise in the Party and start a democratic process
(it has started in Burma and who
thought that would happen a couple of years ago?).
With democracy economic predators as corrupted party members, property
developers and triad gangsters
may be somewhat restrained and regarding the environmental problems
It's terrible today with i.a. the smog in the big cities and the pollution
of rivers etc. This can't continue, if so
China will perish, and there will surely be a process towards a green
community with electric cars and solar
cells etc. Why surely? Because China has got the smartest students who
can be seen in the universities around
the world, and they will evolve into the smartest scientists and find
the environmental solutions humanity needs
..... maybe. If not Washington and Kreml already has started WW3 and
annihilated the world with nukes that is,
the War Hawks are beating their drums and the puppets of the war industries
are fattening their bank accounts
Man on a Motorcycle
This film highlights the problem of child abductions
in mainland China. Due to the one- or two child policy too keep
the population growth under control (1,4 billion people in China) there's
arisen a market for stold children.
Andy Lau plays the role of Lei Zekuan
who's been searching for his abducted son for 15 years. On his motor-
cycle he's zigzagging and criss-crossing all over China equipped with
flyers, photos and flags mounted on his bike.
He's a farmer and his son was abducted when he and his wife was out
in the fields and his grandmother was caring
for the child. He rarely returns home from his hopeless odyssey, looking
for the needle in the haystack is an idiom
that would be suitable for his quest, because of the disappointment
he sees in his wife's and mother's eyes when
he returns alone.
He's the man on the motorcycle and he has one duty to his lost son,
to search for him even though it's almost a
hopeless task. Andy Lau is GREAT and gripping as the
ever wandering Lei Zekuan. Just beautiful
Along the way, when his bike needs repair, he meets
the young mechanic Zeng Shuai (played nicely by singer
and actor Jing Boran) who's also an abducted child and he follows Lei
on the Odyssey through China.
The only memory Zeng has of his real parents is a hazy memory fragment
of a chain-bridge, a bamboo grove and
of a woman with a long braid. Zeng loves his foster parents and his
2 sisters, BUT as a 3rd child he's considered
illegal and hasen't been registered and thereby not able to study or
to get an ID card.
And without an ID card he can't marry or even travel by train.
Lei's very active on Net Sites with people abducted themselves or with
abducted kids, searching for tips and
help in the search. This problem seems to something of a trauma in China
and many people seek to help, and
Zeng (or Mao Xuesong, which is his real name) and Lei gets many tips
about chain-bridges. But, there's a lot of
chain-bridges in China, a whole lot, and their search will take some
time and a whole lot of fuel for their bike.
Will there be a re-union between Zeng and his parents? Yes, there will
as i already have mentioned before.
An impressive debut feature from director Peng Sanyuan and it will be
very interesting to see her output in the
future. Great photo from Lee Pingbing and a ditto soundtrack from Zbigniew
Preisner, and then .... Andy Lau
anamorphic widescreen, DTS-ES 5.1 or 5.1 mandarin putonghua
(Beijing standard mandarin) with english subs
Extras: 3 trailers with english subs and a short making of featurette
with english subs (3 min 30 sec)