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POSTMAN

China, 1995 (MIFF 1995)

Director: He Jianjun

Who knows what happens behind closed doors? The postman, if he opens your mail. And this guy doesn't knock twice before meddling in the lives he uncovers. Adultery, prostitution and drugs are just the appetisers in a banquet of temptations laid out before Xiao Dou. A slow-witted young man over-protected by his elder sister, he is unprepared for Beijing's shadow world, and titillation rapidly turns to moral confusion and tragedy.

Chinese authorities maintain everyone is so busy building the country, none of the things shown in The Postman exist. And indeed, so taboo are they that none of the characters dares talks about what they are doing. But the so called Sixth Generation of younger directors have been determined to expose this other side of Beijing, from Wu Wenguang's documentaries about alienated artists to Zhang Yuan's features on rock culture.

He Jianjun's second film is his most satisfying achievement yet. Beautifully shot and under­played by a nonchalant cast, The Postman is cool­ly observed and perfectly paced. High production values are especially remarkable, as he was supposedly banned from filmmaking last year. Somehow he has eluded the authorities, but it is unlikely The Postman will redeem him in their eyes

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