Happy Times


Chinese director Zhang Yimou's credits include epics such as To Live and the excellent Raise The Red Lantern, but he also occasionally stoops to minor fluff such as Not One Less. Sadly, this squelchy 2002 offering doodles in the latter camp - though it's the slightness, not scale, that disappoints.

On the surface, it's a warm, touching comedy about a blind girl (Jie Dong) duped into working as a masseuse in a fake hotel by a lonely, unemployed old man (Benshan Zhao) who's struggling to woo her mother. Call that a comedy? As sweet as the film strains to be, there's something seriously half-cocked about it, from the curious ethics of its central premise, to a sentimentality and slimness that empties it of social or thematic resonance. It's been called a Chinese City Lights, but its soft-pedalling doesn't even have Charlie Chaplin's verve to sell it. Very much a misfire.

Film Details

  • tbc
  • UK Theatrical Release Date: January 1st 2004

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