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China, 1985 (MIFF 1987)

Director: Huang Jianxin

Black Cannon is the first satirical comedy worthy of the name made in China in 30 years. Engineer Zhao Shuxin (played by Liu Zifeng, who must be China s answer to Woody Allen) is suspected of industrial espionage when he sends a somewhat cryptic telegram to a friend. He is therefore prevented from working with a visiting German expert, who has come to install some new plant. But the German desperately needs a skilled technical translator and Zhao is the only one around...

Using situations and dialogue that are all too obviously drawn from everyday Chinese life, the film
pillories bureaucratic paranoia and incompetence and depicts a society that digs all its own traps. The humour is
matched by the visual flair: there are some boldly stylised designs and there's a striking use of stark primary
colours. Another terrific debut feature from filmmakers of the new generation, and another cornerstone of China's
new wave.

Tony Rayns

See also...


The follow up to Huang Jianxm's very successful first feature Black Cannon Incident, is a decidedly different type of film, that even those familiar with the new developments in Chinese cinema may ... More »


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Coming straight from the Cannes Film Festival's Directors Fortnight, Back To Back, Face To Face is a razor-sharp comedy from the Chinese cinema's resident satirist, Huang Jianxin. ... The film is a ... More »


When waterfowl steal from his pond of fish, an old man devises a means to scare them away. In doing so he learns a lesson about nature and work. ... More »


One of the most startling things about The Big Parade is how little its formal and visual qualities resemble Chen's internationally acclaimed debut feature, Yellow Earth. But perhaps the most salient ... More »

The Boy and the Buffalo

A fierce buffalo following its owner suddenly becomes angry and runs wild. A fable about iron hands and velvet gloves. ... More »

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