Synopsis by Mark Deming
A young man from rural China struggles to make good in Beijing in this drama, which suggests an updated and relocated variation on the neorealist classic Ladri di Biciclette. Guei (Cui Lin) is a teenager who arrives in the big city looking for work; he and a handful of other youngsters are hired as bicycle messengers, with their employer giving them new mountain bikes under the condition that they're paid ten yuan for each message they deliver, and the bicycles are theirs once they've made 58 trips. Guei discovers the job is not an easy one, as he deals with the complexity of the huge city, confusion over who gets what message, and the condescending attitude Beijing residents often display toward the new arrivals. Guei is determined to make good and is close to owning his bike when it's stolen; Guei's boss tells him the only way he can keep is job is if he can find the bicycle, which, in a city the size of Beijing, is no easy task. Against all odds, Guei finds the bicycle, but it's now in the hands of Jian (Li Bin), who claims he got it at a second-hand shop and isn't about to give it up. Guei steals the bike back from Jian, but now has to deal with the teenaged tough and his roughneck friends. Shiqisuide Danche was produced as part of a series of films from young Chinese directors called "Tales of Three Cities," co-produced by French and Taiwanese companies.
bicycle, messenger, search, compromise, robbery, mountain-biking