Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
Original title: Shijie
China/Japan/France, 2004. Office Kitano, Lumen Films, X Stream Pictures, Bandai Visual Company, Bitters End, Dentsu, Shanghai Film Group, TV Asahi, Tokyo FM Broadcasting Co., Xinghui Production Hong Kong. Screenplay by Zhang Ke Jia. Cinematography by Nelson Yu Lik-wai. Produced by Keung Chow, Shozo Ichiyama, Hengameh Panahi, Zhong-lun Ren, Takio Yoshida. Music by Giong Lim. Production Design by Li-zhong Wu. Film Editing by Jinlei Kong. Toronto International Film Festival 2004.
World Park in Beijing is the setting of this enjoyable melodrama, in which global themes are played against personal ones. A young woman who works as a dancer in the park’s shows is having a relationship with a security guard, but has to deal with his commitment issues while also fighting the numbing boredom that the artificial backdrop of the international theme park provides her and her fellow employees. Tourists, on the other hand, are fascinated by the place, and director Zhang Ke Jia is quite expert at juggling the various plotlines and experiences into one wholly comprehensible, smoothly felt epic. While it is enjoyable, its characters aren’t detailed enough to make it wholly involving, but there are moments (such as the lead character’s relationship with a Russian performer) that achieve magnificent grace.