“To learn about a city, you learn about its taxi drivers first.”
This is a very common but quite representative vocation. They come to contact with the largest number of people and are most familiar with urban life.
This film describes money and life in the eyes of taxi drivers in five representative metropolises in the Greater China Region—Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Taibei and Singapore, and in two characteristic small and medium-sized cities—Chengdu and Dieling.
Located in different parts in and outside of China, these cities represent different cultural traditions of China, and become a microcosm of the Chinese city. How people live in these places, what do they think of their lives and money in particular? We find a very interesting contrast among the different cities. Through similarity and discrepancy, we outline Chinese people’s views on money and life in 2007.
Zhu Jie obtains his bachelor’s degree from Nankai University and
master’s degree from Beijing Normal University. Currently he is studying
directing at the Beijing Film Academy and also acting as a director with
Special Programs Team of News Review Division, CCTV.
From The Director
This is the first time I visited cities in this way, but I’ve seen and heard so many things despite the short and random meetings.
As a matter of fact, nothing was left for me to communicate as time passed, since the so-called communication seems so artificial before these ordinary people. Once in a city, I met drivers I wanted, without much effort. I didn’t get it until later that this is not because I was lucky, but that each one of them had very good stories. If one understands this, one sees that communication is unimportant, as their life is more important than the thought one wants to communicate.
There is a prevailing theory in the film industry, the so-called author’s view: What am I? What do I want to express? Documentary works in the opposite direction. One must get oneself out of the film. In this world, you are not as important as you may think and this seems increasingly true to me.
At this moment, I don’t want to be an empty thinker, because observation itself is enough. By comparing with these people, I question myself: how to get along with parents, how to live with my spouse, and what attitude to take towards my dream. Shall I thank life for offering me enough, or complain that it’s not exciting enough?
Hope to gradually understand that, this section actually gives me a sting.
※The 1st New Asia Film Festival (Vancouver), 2008