Fujian Blue

Bottom Line: An interesting social commentary on a China influenced by the West.

Deauville Asian Film Festival 2008

DEAUVILLE, France -- First-time director Robin Weng injects marvelous energy into "Fujian Blue," a film in two parts that is as a powerful social comment on changing Fujian, one of the first Chinese coastal provinces that opened its doors to the world in the early 1980s. An ensemble of non-professionals is used to push the narrative into often exciting realm. The film looks poised for a long festival run though its commercial prospects seem limited.

In the first section, "The Neon Nights," Amerika (Zhu Xiaopeng), Roppongi (Zhuang Jian Jie) and Dragon (Luo Jin) use their imported video cameras to film wealthy women in sexual acts with lovers. These women, termed "remittance widows" because their husbands are away on work, are then blackmailed by Amerika and his gang, who use the money to buy drinks, drugs and prostitutes.

Dragon is an exception. He uses the illicit earnings to pay off his brother's emigration debt, send his sister to a private school and help his parents live better. The gang understands this, and is not entirely without scruples. When Amerika decides to blackmail his mother who takes a lover, his friends are aghast. The second part, "At Home, At Sea," is really about Dragon and the honest desires that he seeks to fulfil through nefarious means.

Weng's non-professional actors essay their roles with conviction, and an imaginative use of locations helps the movie's central theme to develop and affirm how an increasing Western influence has led to excesses in China. Crime and addiction appear to be ruining the country's social fabric, and Weng's work captures this situation with remarkable clarity.

Wonderland Pictures/Fantasy Pictures Entertainment/Harmony Film Company
Fanhall Films
International sales: Fantasy Pictures Entertainment
Director: Robin Weng
Screenplay: Robin Weng, Chen Tao and Lin Yile
Producers: Weng Xiuping, Lin Fan and Kondo Teiko
Executive producer: Zhang Xianmin
Directors of photography: Hai Tao, Shang Yi and Wang Yan
Production designers: Chen Fei, Weng Yu
Music: Wang Lei
Co-producers: Gao Liyong, Chai Tao, Huang Wenbo, Zhu Rikun
Editor: Zheng Jian
Dragon: Luo Jin
Amerika: Zhu Xiaopeng
Roppongi: Zhuang Jian Jie
Running time -- 91 minutes
No MPAA rating