Lai xiao zi (Walking on the Wild Side) (2006)





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The realism of Chinese helmer Han Jie's juvenile delinquency drama Walking on the Wild Side (AKA Lai Xiao Zi, 2006) brings it closer to a consciousness-raising social document than to a standard western narrative. At once barren, stark, and unremittingly grim, the picture relays the story of several youth whose lives are lost at the outset, and sink ever deeper over the course of the film. At its center is Xiping (Bai Paijiang), a wayward adolescent who whittles away his time with two losers: Erbao (Hou Jing) and Liu Liu (Guo Qiang). They inhabit a lugubrious, wintry world of leafless trees and rocky, muddy hills. Whereas Xiping regularly copulates with a nearby housewife - not for any inherent pleasure, but simply as a necessary release - Liu Liu much prefers raping a schoolgirl for kicks. When the teens draw the mockery of a young boy Xiaosi (Tian Zhaoting), they spill over with collective rage and indignation, leading a violent raid on the school, then seizing Xiaosi and inflicting permanent injury by slamming his head into the ground repeatedly, and bloodying it up. If the rape feels incidental and harmless to them, the violence inflicted on Xiaosi poses enough of a legal threat to send them fleeing from the authorities in a car owned by Liu Liu's dad - with no particular destination in mind and no rest in sight. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi
Art House & International , Drama
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