Beijing Bastards

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Film Poster

Beijing Bastards, a film starring Cui Jian and other rock artists


Defying traditional narrative and the linear plot, BEIJING BASTARDS presents a series of episodes from the seemingly aimless lives of a group of young people in contemporary China.

The main protagonist is Karzi, a young owner of a small live-band pub. His pregnant girlfriend, Maomao, disappears after they quarrel one rainy night. Karzi searches for her in vain.

There is also Cui Jian (played by Cui Jian) and his rock’n’roll band which over the last few years has had all applications for public concerts rejected. Now they are faced with losing the only rehearsal room available to them because the owner has decided to terminate their lease without explanation.

Daqing, a jobless writer, volunteers to help his painter friend, "Yellow", to track down a con-man who has swindled the latter out of a sum of money. Daqing offers a 30-yuan reward to shady character to locate the con-man. But instead of forming an alliance, the two get into a fight and end the dinner.

Frustrated and failing to find Maomao, Karzi starts hassling her girlfriends, to the point of forcing one of them to have sex with him. He indulges in marijuana and in his fantasies witnesses Maomao having an abortion.

In the course of the film we see people roaming about, always in search of something. By the end of the film, Cui Jian composes a new song entitled, TOLERATE; Karzi shaves his head; and Daqing fails to raise 30 yuan. In the dark corridor of a deserted building, Karzi finally sees Maomao. She has given birth to a baby. In the distance, Karzi seems to hear it cry…

About The Film

BEIJING BASTARDS is the first truly independent film made in China. With the help of the Hubert Bals Fund of the Rotterdam Film Festival, the project was able to go into production in early 1992. Production money was derived from the personal resources of its four producers, Cui Jian, Zhang Yuan, Shu Kei, and Christopher Doylre. Zhang Yuan graduated from the Beijing Film Academy in 1989 and directed a series of Cui Jian music videos for MTV, one of which was lensed by Christopher Doyle. Doyle collaborated with Hong Kong filmmaker, Shu Kei, on the latter’s directorial feature, SOUL (1986). It was only natural that the four of them would eventually join hands to produce BEIJING BASTARDS.

Principal photography for the film took place entirely in Beijing over 12 months. Shooting was often suspended due to lack of money. Post-production of the film was completed in June 1992 and was made possible with a grant from the French Ministry of Culture.

Ever since BEIJING BASTARDS, other independent films have emerged in China - the products of a whole new breed of independent and experimental Chinese filmmakers.

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