Unknown Pleasures (2003)

Unknown Pleasures



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Unknown Pleasures takes place in China, in the small city of Datong, in 2001, where disaffected teenagers look for any kind of excitement to enliven their dreary existence. Bin Bin (Zhao Wei Wei) dates a quiet student, Yuan Yuan (Zhou Qing Feng) who's thinking of going to university in Beijing. They spend their time together holding hands, watching karaoke and Monkey King videos, and despairing for the future. Bin Bin envies the Monkey King his freedom. Bin Bin has quit his job at a local … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Art House & International, Drama
Directed By: , , , , , ,
Written By: Jia ZhangKe, Zhang Ke Jia
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 16, 2004
New Yorker Films - Official Site



as Qiao Qiao

as Bin Bin

as Xiao Ji

as Yuan Yuan

as Bin Bin's Mother

as Xiao ji's Father
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Critic Reviews for Unknown Pleasures

All Critics (30) | Top Critics (9)

Jia creates some poignant images to convey key transitions in the characters' lives.

Full Review… | January 11, 2008
Top Critic

[Director Zhang-ke] Jia's virtuoso long takes, choreographed mise en scene, and feeling for character and behavior place him in a class by himself.

Full Review… | January 11, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Lays bare the tao of contemporary China, like a doctor taking a pulse.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Too much is left unsaid.

Full Review… | April 11, 2003
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

A stunning study of ennui.

March 26, 2003
New York Post
Top Critic

May be Jia's most concentrated evocation of contemporary China's spiritual malaise.

Full Review… | March 25, 2003
Village Voice
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Unknown Pleasures


I understand what was being done and being said, but in the end it just fails to captivate its viewer. The shots are just too long and the characters are not interesting enough for a two hour movie centered around character development. Shooting this on digital video was a nice choice, but that's about the best thing I can say about this. It was the only sense of realism that worked. The influences of this are bright as day and it's easy to conclude that they are all movies i'd rather have watched instead of this.

Conner Rainwater

Super Reviewer


A story of disaffected youth in modern-day China. Provides some interesting insights into Chinese version of Socialist society, but aside from that, not the most exciting cinematic experience. A well-made movie though, clearly influenced by Western cinema.

Gabriel Knight

Jia Zhang Ke is one of the most talented young directors working today. This might be my favorite of his work, perhaps because I can relate to its characters the most. I love his gritty neorealist style that captures the lives and problems of people in a time and place that is undergoing huge social and economic changes. The story is about two teenage boys with no goals, directions, or future. They have no jobs and little money. They feed off of pop culture such as Pulp Fiction and Chinese pop songs, when their lives couldn't be farther away from these distractions. Jia's pacing and plotlessness might turn off some viewers, but his concern is realism, which he uses to capture the social-economic alienation and spiritual malaise of the one-child-per-family generation.

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