Synopsis by Clarke Fountain
Rock music is still viewed with great suspicion by Chinese authorities, and this rock-oriented film, though it was made in a partnership between Chinese and Hong Kong, caused a controversy when its maker attempted to enter it in festival competition in Toronto. In fact, rock music is very much a magnet for the disaffected young of China in much the way it was in the west in the 60s. The fact that the story is set amid the grim back alleys, small, independent rock bars, and rundown apartment houses of sections of Beijing that tourists never get to see may be another factor in the official ambivalence this film was greeted with. The story features the well-known Chinese rock pioneer Cui Jian as the leader of a group that plays in Karzi's tiny rock club. Karzi can't help the group find a replacement for the rehearsal space they have lost, and is having his own problems with his girlfriend. She is pregnant, and after an argument with Karzi she not only split up with him, but disappeared into the night. He is worried about her, and goes looking for her while zoned out on marijuana. Instead of finding her, he finds a friend of hers, whom he rapes. The fighting, drinking and quarrelling that takes place among these fringe members of the new China is one of the main focuses of this film, rather than the storyline.
High Artistic Quality, High Historical Importance