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Distributing the finest in Chinese independent film

BETELNUT

(Bing Lang)

WATCH

Hunan Dialect w/ English subtitles

Minutes: 

112

Director: 

Yang Heng

Narrative

2005

|

China

Institutional

BETELNUT

Trailer

BETELNUT

Along a sleepy Hunan riverside, two delinquent boys experience a summer of love and violence in Yang Heng’s visually stunning debut.

 

Ali and Xiao Yu are two teenage rebels idling away their days along the banks of a river in Jishou, a quiet town in Hunan province. They steal motorbikes, bully and rob kids, sing karaoke and get into fist fights outside the local internet bar. But their rough exterior belies a deeper romanticism, and a tenderness unfolds between them and their teenage loves. As one day bleeds into the next in this impoverished rural setting, it becomes apparent that these sun-baked days of misspent youth will be the wildest, freest time of their lives.

These everyday subjects are transformed by a groundbreaking digital cinematography unlike any other Chinese film. Alternating deep-focus with bold flatness, Yang explores spaces with a mastery that recalls both classical Chinese and modernist landscape painting. Filmed in a summery palette with images that give off an otherworldly glow, BETELNUT offers a one-of-a-kind vision of what it’s like to be young, poor and free in China.

  • Pusan International Film Festival – Winner – Best New Asian Filmmaker

  • Hong Kong International Film Festival – Winner – FIPRESCI Jury Prize

  • Continents Festival Nantes – Winner – New Vision Award

1/1

Michael Sicinski, The University of Houston

“Yang is a first-class visual stylist, and BETELNUT is far and away the most exciting debut film I’ve seen all year.”