Unknown Pleasures, sequel to the widely praised Platform, again focuses on a generation of Chinese kids. In fragmentary observations, Jia sketches a picture of the lethargy of today’s youth, a generation that has grown up with technological gadgets, advertising and Internet. Jia refers to moments in the eventful year 2001, when an unemployed man blew up a whole building and the Olympic Summer Games of 2008 were granted to Beijing. In as far as the scenes were not improvised, the script of the film was inspired by work of the philosopher Zhuangzi, a Taoist who argues in favour of enjoying the (unknown) pleasures of life. The two unemployed kids Xiao Ji and Bin Bin have plenty of time for pleasures like hanging out and falling in love. In the case of Xiao Ji the subject of his affections is Qiao Qiao, a dancer and model for an advertising campaign for a major Mongolian brand of drink. The fact that Qiao Qiao has a dangerous friend does not make much impression on Xiao Ji: he takes his inspiration from American crime films and most wants to die young. Bin Bin does not have much faith in the future either. His girlfriend is going to Beijing to study. She wants to become a businesswoman, while Bin Bin’s ambitions do not extend any further than karaoke and cartoons.
Directed by Zhang Ke Jia | Starring : Tao Zhao, Wei Wei Zhao, Qiong Wu, Hongwei Wang, Zhubin Li | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Belgrade Film Festival, Istanbul Film Festival, Singapore Film Festival, San Sebastian Film Festival