Red Beads

Shot in black and white in and around a Beijing mental hospital, this maverick 1993 Chinese feature by writer-director He Yi, made completely outside the official system, focuses on the relationship that gradually develops between a male orderly and a female patient. Though less direct and obvious, it’s far more original than the other examples of Chinese outlaw cinema I’ve seenin part because its main effect isn’t to remind us of Western films but to suggest things about Chinese life we don’t already know. (JR)

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