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Platform (2000 film)

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Platform
Poster
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese站台
Simplified Chinese站台
Literal meaningRailway platform
Directed byJia Zhangke
Written byJia Zhangke
Produced byKit Ming Li
Shozo Ichiyama
StarringWang Hongwei
Zhao Tao
Liang Jingdong
Yang Tianyi
CinematographyYu Lik-wai
Edited byKong Jinglei
Music byYoshihiro Hanno
Release date
  • September 4, 2000 (2000-09-04) (Venice)
Running time
154 minutes
193 minutes (director's cut)
CountryChina
LanguageMandarin

Platform is a 2000 Chinese film written and directed by Jia Zhangke. The film is set in and around the small city of Fenyang, Shanxi province, China (Jia's birthplace), from the end of the 1970s to the beginning of the 1990s. It follows a group of twenty-something performers as they face personal and societal changes. The dialogue is a mixture of local speech, mainly Jin Chinese and Mandarin. The film has been called "an epic of grassroots". It is named after a popular song about waiting at a railway platform.

Platform has garnered wide acclaim from critics in the years since its release, and is often named one of the greatest films of the 2000s.[1] The film has been called the masterpiece of the entire "Sixth Generation" movement of Chinese cinema,[2] although the movie has never been publicly released in China due to its being made outside of official state approval.[3]

Plot[edit]

The film starts in 1979 in the wake of the Cultural Revolution. A performance troupe of young adults in Fenyang performs state-approved material. Four troupe members are introduced - Cui Mingliang, Yin Ruijuan, Zhang Jun and his girlfriend Zhong Ping. The rebellious Cui clashes with his family and elders, and envies Zhang, whose visits to his aunt in Guangzhou allow him to procure consumer goods in the wake of China's economic liberalization policies. Cui is interested in Yin, whose military official father disapproves of him. Zhang successfully pressures Zhong to perm her hair; Zhong tries to interest the more conservative Yin in the latest fashions, but she resists. Zhang accidentally gets Zhong pregnant and forces her to get an abortion, straining their relationship. Cui continues to pursue Yin, who only gives him noncommittal answers, frustrating him. Eventually, she rejects him, telling him that she feels that they are incompatible.

The troupe begins to bend to Western influences and is eventually privatized. Cui, heartbroken and filled with wanderlust, remains with the troupe as they go on tour under new management, as do Zhang and Zhong; Yin chooses to stay behind. They witness massive changes sweeping the nation - electricity is introduced to a rural village; there, they encounter Sanming, Cui's uneducated peasant cousin, whose sister Wenying is staying with Cui's family. Out of desperation, Sanming takes a poorly-paid job at an unregulated coal mine for Wenying to afford an increasingly expensive university education. Before the troupe leaves, Sanming hands a meager five yuan to Cui, instructing him to give it to Wenying and to tell her to never return. Along the way, their truck gets stuck in mud, and the troupe sees a train passing by for the first time.

Zhang and Zhong continue their relationship on the road; Cui continues to pine for Yin, but avoids contacting her. Zhang and Zhong's illegal out-of-wedlock relationship is discovered by the authorities under interrogation. They return to Fenyang; Cui hands over ten yuan to Wenying, who becomes upset about her brother's lack of prospects, while Zhong cuts off contact from Zhang and the rest of the troupe. The troupe rebrands themselves as a rock music troupe from Shenzhen and goes on tour again. Cui begins a relationship with a new troupe member. They struggle to land permits for shows and are reduced to performing on the side of highways, travelling as far as Inner Mongolia before turning back.

Eventually, Cui and the troupe return to Fenyang once more. Cui's parents' marriage has fallen apart, with his father having remarried and opened a shop. He, Zhang, and Yao Eryong, another troupe member, leave the troupe and go into business dealing in construction materials. They run into Yin again, now a tax collector, who has been secretly pining for her days of performing. Despite still stinging from the pain of rejection, Cui visits Yin and they reconnect. The film ends with Cui and Yin, now married with a son, as a train's whistle blows over the credits.

Cast[edit]

  • Wang Hongwei – Cui Mingliang
  • Zhao Tao – Yin Ruijuan
  • Liang Jingdong – Zhang Jun
  • Yang Tianyi – Zhong Ping
  • Wang Bo – Yao Eryong
  • Han Sanming – Sanming

Critical reception[edit]

Platform was voted the second best film of the decade by the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)'s Cinematheque, by more than 60 film experts (historians, archivists, etc.) from around the world.[4][5] Another film by Jia Zhangke, Still Life, was voted the third best film.[5] Platform placed 32 on Slant Magazine's list of the 100 best films of the 2000s[6] and was named as one of Sight & Sound's films of the 2000s.[7] Platform was ranked the 11th best film of the decade in an international poll conducted by Film Comment.[8] In 2016, film critics from the Austrian Film Museum, Der Standard and Le Monde included Platform in their top 10 films of the 21st century.[9]

The film has a 79% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 19 reviews, with an average score of 6.72 out of 10.[10] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 76 based on 7 critic reviews.[11]

Awards[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "21st Century (Full List)". Retrieved January 10, 2016.
  2. ^ Said, S F (28 June 2002). "In the Realm of Censors". Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 17 October 2002.
  3. ^ Xu, Gary G. (2007). Sinascape: Contemporary Chinese Cinema. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 48. ISBN 0-7425-5450-3.
  4. ^ TIFF Cinematheque's Best of the Decade Archived August 21, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ a b "Thai film tops TIFF list of decade's best" Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. November 23, 2009.
  6. ^ "The 100 Best Films of the Aughts" Slant Magazine. February 7, 2010.
  7. ^ Sight & Sound’s films of the decade
  8. ^ "Film Comment's End-of-the-Decade Critics' Poll" Film Comment.
  9. ^ "The 21st Century's 100 greatest films: Who voted?" BBC. August 23, 2016.
  10. ^ "Zhantai (Platform) (2000)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  11. ^ "Zhantai Reviews" Metacritic.

External links[edit]