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PLATFORM aka ZHANTAI
UK: Artificial Eye
Cast: Wang Hong Wei, Zhao Tao, Liang Jing-dong, Yang Tian-yi
Director: Jia Zhang Ke
Countries: China / Japan / France
Language: Mandarin (English subtitles)
UK: 155 mins
UK Certificate: 15 contains some strong language
UK Release Date: 2 August 2002
PLATFORM follows the changing fortunes of a group of friends who are members of a performance group in a remote, provincial town. The action takes place between 1979 and 1989: a period of cultural and social change in China. The film chronicles the transition from post-cultural Revolution China to a consumer nation increasingly susceptible to outside influence, examining the effects of the cultural wind of change on the individuals of the group and the wider community.
Winter 1979 in the small town of Fenyang in the remote Chinese province of Shanxi. Minliang and his actor friends present a propaganda play in praise of Maoism, pursuit of the opposite sex and escaping the clutches of their conservative parents.
They hunger for information from the major Chinese cities where, it is said, Western influences are beginning to be tolerated. Everything appears to be moving to a new beat, everywhere, that is, except for the Fenyang Province where they live. In the spring of 1980 rock music, cigarettes and hair curling are permitted.
We move ahead a few years and the reforms have reached Fenyang, but meanwhile, state subsidies are being cut. The future of the performing troupe is unclear and the friendship of the protagonists is in jeopardy.