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Hong Kong / China, 1994 (MIFF 1994)

Director: Huang Jianxin

Coming straight from the Cannes Film Festival's Directors Fortnight, Back To Back, Face To Face is a razor-sharp comedy from the Chinese cinema's resident satirist, Huang Jianxin.

The film is a hilarious contemporary comedy about bureaucracy liberated from the duty to serve the people. "Every man for himself, God damn those who don't". But Mr. Wang, a deputy at a cultural office consistently fails to heed this piece of remodelled ancient wisdom, and is thrice passed over for promotion. Just how is an honest man to survive in the New China?

Festival audiences have the rare opportunity to see Huang's two most recent films in this year's programme, both only recently completed. Whilst The Wooden Man's Bride is a radical departure for the director Back To Back, Face To Face is a return to the caustic style and humour of The Black Cannon Incident (MIFF 86) and Dislocation (MIFF 88). It comes at a time when tensions over political censorship of cinema in China have never been higher.

"...(the film is) a no nonsense story about life, complex human relationships and subtle psychology. Inside it there are many things: the changes in contemporary Chinese politics, culture and economy. Do they bring us joy? Confusion? Or is it history throwing overboard our habits of being with gleeful abandon?"
- Huang Jianxin

See also...


Nineteen twenties China, a time of transtion and hope, as the feudal society reluctantly bows to the promise of a new republic. In the remote North West, barely touched by change for thousands of ... More »


The follow up to Huang Jianxm's very successful first feature Black Cannon Incident, is a decidedly different type of film, that even those familiar with the new developments in Chinese cinema may ... More »


Black Cannon is the first satirical comedy worthy of the name made in China in 30 years. Engineer Zhao Shuxin (played by Liu Zifeng, who must be China s answer to Woody Allen) is suspected of ... More »


20: 30: 40 Hong Kong/ChinaSex and the City Taipei-style. Nominated for the Golden Bear at this year's Berlin Film Festival, this irresistible film from Sylvia Chang is a fun and entertaining romantic ... More »

beyond our ken

Ken (Daniel Wu) has been romancing teacher Chan Wai-Ching (Gillian Chung), until he unceremoniously ditches her for karaoke waitress Shirley (Tao Hung). Chan goes knocking on Shirley's door when she ... More »


“I entered this condemned city [Fengjie] with my camera and I witnessed demolitions and explosions. In the roaring noise and fluttering dust, I gradually felt that life really could blossom in ... More »

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