Sunday, April 23, 2006

Went to see a private screening of a new Chinese movie, Old Barber, directed by Hass Chaolu. The film was a kind of documentary about the life of Uncle Jin, a 93-year-old man who still rides his bike around the old hutongs near Hou Hai in Beijing to give his shaves and haircut house calls. There are typical barber shops here, but it's not uncommon to see barbers like this in an alleyway or along the side of a road in some out-of-the-way place giving haircuts.

The old barber and some of the other cast members were in attendance, as was the director, who introduced the guests of honor before the film began. The little theater was packed and extra chairs were brought in to accommodate the standing members of the audience. The movie finally got under way around 8PM and lasted for about 90 minutes. The plot was a little forced and the film ran a bit long, but the cinematography was strong and the shots of Beijing were exceptional. Following Uncle Jin around Beijing through the film was fascinating, especially in light of the ongoing modernization of Beijing. These old professions, old places and old ways of life are quickly being replaced or made obsolete. It was particularly nice to watch the film if only because I recognized most of the places.

No comments: