2 user 10 critic

Beijing Flickers (2012)

You-Zhong (original title)
Sao Bao has been left behind by China's fabulous new wealth, having lost his job, his apartment, and the woman he loves. Nevertheless, he has moments of euphoria amid his own despair, as he... See full summary »


Yuan Zhang
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Bowen Duan Bowen Duan ... San Bao
Xinyun Li ... Youzi
Wenwen Han ... Su Mo
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Qunshu Gao Qunshu Gao
Yulai Lü ... Wang Ming (as Yulai Lu)
Zihan Qin Zihan Qin
Jingchun Wang
Ningyu Zhao Ningyu Zhao


Sao Bao has been left behind by China's fabulous new wealth, having lost his job, his apartment, and the woman he loves. Nevertheless, he has moments of euphoria amid his own despair, as he roams the sleek, shifting city with other soulful, cash-poor dreamers and misfits. These heavenly losers carry the vital spirit of Beijing in this portrait of youthful disaffection. Mandarin w. English subs. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis









Release Date:

10 January 2013 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Beijing Flickers See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

I wish I didn't eat that glass.
15 January 2013 | by mbsSee all my reviews

I didn't really care for the movie so much, indeed i kind of feel like it was almost trying too hard to achieve the kind of moody tone poetry it really wanted to carve out, but i do feel like this is a movie that other people could and prob will really really love. If you're a fan of the films of Wong Kar-Wai--i would really recommend checking this one out as this covers a lot of similar terrain both dialog wise, atmosphere wise, and character wise, it definitely felt like the work of someone who really looked up to Wong Kar-Wai. I enjoyed that director's work more than enough that i can certainly appreciate the similarities that are present here without really getting wrapped up in this film's sense of poetic ramblings and discourses--again both dialog and visual wise, and i should say there are a handful of sequences here that really hit the mark--such as the one scene where the lead decided that maybe he will get run over by a train after all. In those handful of moments the film really comes to life in a vivid and memorable way--unfortunately they're only moments.

The plot is essentially there's this young gloomy man (maybe in his early twenties)who upon breaking up with his much rhapsodized love interest seeks to end his life--be it physically or just emotionally, he essentially stops taking care of himself getting himself kicked out of his residence, and just stops caring about anything and everything--he gets so drunk in the first five minutes of the film that he bites into a glass and needs to receive stitches on his mouth because of this but he doesn't seem to even care all that much so given up on any joy he could possibly get out of life is he. In the hospital he's befriended by a very sunny hairdresser who along with another friend of his (a doorman prone to having sex with prostitutes) become a trio of young guys just hanging around and getting drunk while the lead waxes poetic in voice-over some of which is very effective (the scene of the three of them passing out and lying down drunk outside has the guy saying to the audience that he wishes he could buy them all the drinks they want but since he can't afford it, at least he can afford the cold wind that they can all feel which will remind them all that they're alive??? i am not sure but it both looked and sounded cool) eventually the three guys hook up with this singer of a rock band that plays at the bar where the lead ate that glass--and she and another girl (who ends up being the sister of one of the other two guys) ends up hanging out and after two or three scenes of the lead trying to off himself eventually forms a connection to the singer of the band. This in turn leads to not a whole lot--there was an attempt at blackmailing the other girl's boss at the bank she works at because she had been sexually molested by him, and there are a couple of alternatively amusing and puzzling scenes involving the other characters doing other things....i hope by now you get the idea that this film isn't really about plot anyways as much as it is the brooding atmosphere and rather dystopic mindset of its main character and how it basically informs everything he sees around him--from his friends, to a potential new love, to everything he passes by, everything is just touched by a cloud of sadness and doom. I feel like this film might have been trying to say something about depression and how both beautiful and ugly, natural and unnatural the young man's mind will process sadness--but that may be ascribing a quality to the film that only i was seeing while watching it. All of that said, the film's pacing is lethargic at best, torpid at worst, but again there are these occasionally wonderful scenes scattered throughout that suggest a real touch of poetry and a real future for the director if he could maybe put together a slightly less languorous film next time out--or at least one that has as many moments that work as moments that don't.

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