Director Miao Wang has a filmmakers’ eye — of that there is no doubt.
In his film Beijing Taxi, Wang follows three taxi drivers as stand-ins for the larger story of the evolving socio-economic transformation currently being undertaken by the city of Beijing.
Wang masterfully captures the growing apprehension and resistance to the city’s growth as the city prepares for the 2008 Olympic Games. As historical neighborhoods are destroyed and more and more foreigners enter the city in preparation for the games, the film’s subjects —the trio of taxi drivers — provide a model insight into the city’s struggles to retain its identity while still enjoying the increased quality of life enjoyed by most.
The taxi drivers of Beijing Taxi all have their own personal struggles along side the cultural tug-of-war the city is undertaking. From one driver’s marital problems and her desire to move out of the taxi driving business and open up her own clothing boutique to another driver’s desire to move further up the hierarchy of public transportation and begin driving a bus, the subjects offer great perspective into the newfound concerns and issues facing Beijing residents today.
The film is not particularly entertaining, for those looking for a light excursion during SXSW. It’s also not particularly weighty. It is, however, a fascinating glimpse into the changing landscape of a country that, in a relatively short time, has found itself become one of the world’s premiere powerhouses.
Category: Documentary Competition
Director: Miao Wang
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The South by Southwest film festival will be held in Austin from March 12 through the 20th. For more information about attending the festival and the films being shown, visit www.sxsw.com/film.
Robert Saucedo is an avid movie watcher with seriously poor sleeping habits. The Mikey from Life cereal of film fans, Robert will watch just about anything — good, bad or ugly. He has written about film for newspapers, radio and online for the last 10 years. This has taken a toll on his sanity — of that you can be sure. Follow him on Twitter at @robsaucedo2500.