Be There or Be Square

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Be There or Be Square
Directed by Feng Xiaogang
Produced by Yang Hongguang, Liu Xiaodian
Written by Gu Xiaoyang
Feng Xiaogang
Starring Ge You
Xu Fan
Music by San Bao
Cinematography Zhao Fei
Edited by Zhou Ying
Release dates 1998
Running time 103 min
Country China
Language Mandarin, English

Be There or Be Square (simplified Chinese: 不见不散; traditional Chinese: 不見不散; pinyin: Bújiàn búsàn) is a 1998 Chinese romantic comedy film directed by Feng Xiaogang, produced by Beijing Forbidden City Film Co. Ltd., Beijing Film Studio, Zhongji Modern Commercial, Beijing Zhengtian Media & Culture Centre, and Sleiman/Tyrol Films. It is a Feng Xiaogang hesui pian ("New Year celebratory film"), screened during the 1999 Chinese New Year to boost box office takings, the box office reached to 30M Yuan, top of 1999. It was granted "Best Feature Film - Hua Biao Prize in 1998" to Beijing Forbidden City Film Co. Ltd., Beijing Film Studio, Zhongji Modern Commercial, Beijing Zhengtian Media & Culture Centre by China State Administration of Broadcast, Film, & TV in May 1999.

Ge You and Xu Fan star as Beijing natives working in Los Angeles, whose paths constantly cross in a foreign city. They attempt to balance work with friendship/love in spite of mounting disasters each time they meet.

Plot[edit]

Freelancer Liu Yuan (Ge You) is a carefree Beijing native eking out a living in Los Angeles, working as an occasional film extra and part-time insurance agent. While helping a Beijing film crew scout for a suburb mansion, he encounters Li Qing (Xu Fan), a former acquaintance house sitting for her friends. Liu convinces Li Qing she lack the requisite skills to survive in an American city, and buys her an air ticket to fly back to Beijing. The two part at the airport, expecting never to meet again.

The couple meet a year later again in L.A. Li did not leave L.A.: instead, she now rents a cheap apartment, working as a cleaner. Still his former carefree self living in a travel trailer, Liu has turned to selling cemetery spaces. Their relationship seems "jinxed" as the two encounter a hold-up at a restaurant, then the unlucky duo end up at the LAPD after working for a Chinese travel agency which is in actuality smuggling illegal immigrants from China. Li Qing finds their relationship unnerving enough to stop contact, vowing never to meet Liu again.

A year passes. Liu Yuan puts an advert in the papers to trace out Li, who now has her own florist shop and is teaching Mandarin part time to Chinese Americans. Li remembers their relationship fondly and the two set up a Mandarin school for LAPD cops who patrol the LA Chinatown area. Through various mishaps Liu makes no secret of his romantic interest in Li, but it is only after an elaborate hoax from Liu that Li realizes she value him as well.

However news arrive from Beijing that Liu's mother has suffered a serious cerebral hemorrhage. Liu heads back to Beijing to fulfil his filial duties and parts with Li, not wanting to pressure her to follow him home as Li has just obtained a green card after years of hard work in the US.

On the airplane heading home, Liu has a troubled dream imagining he and Li Qing will never meet until their dotage at an old folks home. When he awakes he finds to his delight Li Qing sitting next to him. Just then, the airplane meets with technical mishap and seems to be heading for a crash – another mishap in their long line of "hexed" meet-ups. In the face of imminent deaths, the couple profess their love for each other, but miraculously, the technical problem is resolved just moments after their mutual love declarations. The two decide to get hitched immediately on alighting - but only after Li discover Liu is sporting dentures after their first kiss.

Cast[edit]

External links[edit]

Resources: 1. Box office record from {Film Art 2000 No.3} run by China Film Association. 2. Testimonial issued by China State Administration of Broadcast, Film & TV in May 1999.