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Sunday, June 1, 2008

SO CLOSE TO PARADISE (1998)

"Sixth Generation" mainland China writer/director Wang Xiaoshuai had 3 years of censorship before this crime drama got a release. It will make you think of Howard Hawks’ SCARFACE & the early ‘30s Warners gangster pics, and like those classics, you'll be able to guess the additions & compromises he had to make to get the film made. Shot in edgy, indie manner (due to budget as much as choice), it’s the old, old tale of two small-town guys (a slick ambitious hood & his get-along/go-along surrogate kid brother) who wade into crime over their head while murder & a tempting Vietnamese nightclub singer poison their precarious hold on their shabby lives. Xiaoshuai is a natural, and the film certainly works, but his other titles sound more interesting. (see BEIJING BICYCLE above)

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