Screened as part of NZIFF 2001

I Love Beijing 2000

Xiari nuanyangyang

Directed by Ning Ying

China In Mandarin with English subtitles
79 minutes 35mm

Director, Editor

Production Co

Eurasia Communications
Happy Village


Han Sanping
Wang Zhonglei
Ning Ying


Ning Dai
Ning Ying


Gao Fei

Production Designer

Wei Ning


Chao Jun
Song Qin


Zhu Xiaomin


Yu Lei (Desi)
Zuo Baitao
Tao Hong
Gai Yi
Liu Miao


Ning Ying’s vivid, rueful film offers a view of twenty-first century Beijing, unprecedented in the movies. She shows us a city undergoing bewildering change as it embraces capitalism and an increasingly diverse, and, if we are to believe her, alienated population.

Recently divorced taxi driver Desi is involved in a series of short-lived relationships with women from different strata of Beijing society: a migrant waitress from Northeast China, a glamorous primary school teacher, a popular radio show host and finally a peasant from the countryside. Relentlessly cruising the busy streets in his cab, Desi engages in his quixotic search for love while facing the disorder and confusion of a city in a visible state of flux. Gao Fei’s propulsive camerawork discovers a Beijing of night-time motorways, full of pounding nightclubs and mammoth shopping malls, where traditional Chinese ideals are swamped by Western values. — BG

Of the many Asian films that I saw in Berlin, Ning Ying’s sad and funny I Love Beijing was by far the most incisive. The filmmaker uses a young cab driver’s philandering sex life as a metaphor for the confusion of appetites in Beijing’s rush toward a capitalist future. Ning shows us a city being rebuilt inch by inch with jaw-dropping speed. Amid the towering skyscrapers, billboards feature women in scanty lingerie; the primary topic of conversation is money. ‘I am the person who loves Beijing,’ said the director at her press conference, ‘but I am an abandoned lover, because Beijing no longer has a use for me.’ — Amy Taubin, Village Voice, 25/2/01

In the brief span of just ten years I have seen my city, Beijing, going through astonishing transformations. I first set out to explore Beijing in 1992 with the feature For Fun, a comedy about disappearing traditional ways of life. In 1995, with the black-humoured On the Beat, I focused on the emerging new reality and the difficulty of coping with it. In this new film, I Love Beijing, the magnitude of changes shaping our lives and the anxieties of the new generation, are represented in a rhapsody form, through the eyes of a young, restless taxi driver. When I look back at these three films I cannot but regard them as completing a trilogy about three generations of Beijingers: the grandfathers (For Fun), the parents (On the Beat) and the sons (I Love Beijing). — Ning Ying