Happy Times
Xingfu Shiguang
review by Carrie Gorringe, 21 June 2002

28th Seattle International Film Festival

During most of the running time of director Zhang Yimou's new film, Happy Times, the film barely skirts the terrain of lowbrow comedy, and does so breezily, although it's quite disconcerting to see the director of such "weighty" films as Ju Dou, Raise the Red Lantern, and Not One Less going for broke -- however effectively. A washed-up middle-aged man named Zhao, desperate for what he sees to be his last chance at matrimonial happiness, becomes involved with a greedy woman with an unwanted -- and blind -- stepdaughter, Wu. By (sometimes implausible) degrees Zhao becomes Wu's de facto guardian, and is then entrusted with having to find her a profession. When he learns of the one talent she possesses, he helps her to realize her dream, in a way that is both touching and painful. The overall cinematic result is something fragile and beautiful In Happy Times, Zhang has crafted his own quiet masterpiece, a touching update of Chaplin's City Lights and Griffith's Broken Blossoms.


Seattle International Film Festival Coverage:

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Directed by:
Zhang Yimou

Starring:
Zhao Benshan
Dong Jie
Li Xuejian

Rated:
NR - Not Rated.
This film has not yet
been rated.

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