Synopsis by Sandra Brennan
This is the final entry in Chinese filmmaker Huang Jian Xin's trilogy of social satires. Like its predecessors Stand Up, Don't Bend Over (1993) and Back to Back, Face to Face (1994), Signal Left, Turn Right offers a gentle (at least, enough to keep the censors at bay) but razor-sharp look at the foibles of those who comprise contemporary Chinese society. The story is set at a Chinese driving school and follows five disparate students and their stern teacher on the road to owning a coveted driver's license. There are few such schools in China and those that do exist are generally run by the military. This school, with "Developing Skilled Drivers for the Nation" as its motto is owned by Li, an army officer and run by staunch Party member Hou, who also works as the school's sole teacher. His class is comprised is the capitalistic and newly wealthy Chai; pretty Cheng Fen, who wants to drive a taxi; long-haired and rebellious and drug addicted young man Mung Bean and finally the class latecomer Yang Wei, an arrogant intellectual from Beijing University. All of the characters and the ways in which they deal with their lessons are deliberately designed (but not unrealistic) stereotypes who represent different factions of contemporary Chinese society.
driving-school, driver, slice-of-life, student, teacher