Postman (film)

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For the 1997 film starring Kevin Costner, see The Postman (film).
Postman dvdcover.jpg
Traditional 郵差
Simplified 邮差
Mandarin Yóuchāi
Directed by He Jianjun
Produced by Tian Yan
Shu Kei
Written by He Jianjun
You Ni
Starring Feng Yuanzheng
Liang Danni
Pu Quanxin
Huang Xing
Music by Otomo Yoshihide
Cinematography Wu Di
Edited by Liu Xiaojing
Release date
  • March 21, 1995 (1995-03-21) (United States)
Running time
102 minutes
Language Mandarin

Postman is a Chinese film made in 1995 and directed by He Jianjun. His second feature, Postman tells the story of a shy mailman played by Feng Yuanzheng who steals and reads the letters of people on his route. The film is considered part of China's sixth generation movement.

The director operated under a ban during Postman's production and only succeeded in screening the film abroad after smuggling a print out of the country and finishing the film overseas.[1]


Xiao Dou (Feng Yuanzheng) is a shy and naive mailworker living in Beijing with his sister. When a coworker is fired for reading people's correspondences Xiao Dou takes over the same mail route. He soon finds himself indulging in the same curiosity, eventually developing an obsession. Xiao Dou chooses to spend time reading letters instead of socializing with friends or coworkers. As he becomes increasingly tied to the letters, he begins to intervene in the lives of those who write and receive the letters.

As Xiao Dou's amorality and detachment become more severe, his obsessions expand, as he engages in an incestuous relationship to his own sister. By the end of the film, Xiao Dou no longer considers the feelings of anyone else.


Reception of Postman in the west was marked by shock and praise. Standing in contrast to many of the more polished filmmaking coming from China during the mid-1990s, such as Chen Kaige's Temptress Moon (1996) or Zhang Yimou's To Live (1994) and Raise the Red Lantern (1991), Postman was a contemporary snapshot of modern China. Scholars and critics alike grouped the film as part of the up-and-coming Sixth Generation movement that began with Zhang Yuan, Wang Xiaoshuai, and others. Today, Postman is considered one of the more important works to come out of the early years of the movement. China cinema scholar Shelly Kraicer referred to the film as "one of the most disturbing and important recent films out of China" in her review.[2] Critics found the film "transgressive" in its satire and its unblinking depiction of homosexuality, prostitution, drug-use and adultery.[3]

Further illustrating the film's reputation was its inclusion in the Harvard Film Archive's retrospective on the sixth generation in 2001, "The Urban Generation: Chinese Cinema and Society in Transformation."[4]



  1. ^ Berardinelli, James (1995). "Review:Postman (Youchai)". ReelReviews. Retrieved 2008-10-21. 
  2. ^ Kraicer, Shelly (1995). "Postman review". Retrieved 2008-10-18. 
  3. ^ Maslin, Janet (1995-03-21). "FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW; A Voyeur in Any Weather". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-21. 
  4. ^ "The Urban Generation: Chinese Cinema and Society in Transformation". Harvard Film Archive. Retrieved 2008-10-21. 
  5. ^ "VPRO Tiger Awards Competition". International Film Festival Rotterdam. Retrieved 2008-10-21. 
  6. ^ "FIPRESCI Award". International Film Festival Rotterdam. Retrieved 2008-10-21. 
  7. ^ "Awards". International Thessaloniki Film Festival. Retrieved 2008-10-21. 

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