We’re kicking off Giving Tuesday early this year! Your donation today will be matched up to $10K, doubling your impact! If you donate $50 today, the Reader will receive $100.
The Reader is now a community-funded nonprofit newsroom. Can we count on your support to help keep us publishing?
Hou Hsiao-hsien served as executive producer for this slight 2010 drama, which cultivates a strong sense of milieu with its Shanghai setting yet still manages to be about nothing in particular. A driven loner (Qin Hai Lu), regrouping after the failure of her clothing business, moves to the city and starts an unlicensed bus service with two men from her hometown; meanwhile her landlady struggles to connect with an ungrateful daughter. Each character is allotted one goal, one motivation, one defining trait, and one emotion; this tidy design helps director Teng Yung-shing, a veteran of TV commercials, produce a quick sketch of an insular migrant community, but it also makes his film thin and formulaic. This feels like half a movie, with the other half synopsized in a lengthy end title. In Mandarin with subtitles.