Back to Back, Face to Face (1994)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Comedy of Manners, Satire  |   Run Time - 147 min.  |   Countries - Hong Kong  |  
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The inner workings of Chinese bureaucracy are sliced open in this cutting Hong Kong satire. Wang is the ambitious assistant director of the Cultural Center in Xi'an. Though an excellent manipulator who is respected and admired by his staff, Wang cannot seem get promoted. Wang and his staff are outraged when the newly vacant director's post is filled by Old Ma, an old-fashioned Communist cadre member. They immediately begin devising plots to get Old Ma out of the office and into a new post. They succeed only to find a new bureaucrat, Yan, has been hired to fill it. Yan is wise to Wang and not easily fooled. Wang's father gets involved and devises a situation that gets Yan humiliated in public. Unfortunately Yan survives the derision with his position intact. He gets revenge on Wang who ends up hospitalized with a nervous breakdown. Wang's staff turns around and gets revenge on Yan. But when Wang returns, he is a changed man. He now knows that there are more important things in life than ambition.

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Keywords

against-the-system, ambition, bureaucracy, business, employment, revenge