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One Night in Supermarket - Movie Poster
Original Title:
Ye dian

China 2009

Genre:
Comedy

Director:
Yang Qing

Cast:
Li Xialu
Qiao Kimi
Xu Zheng
Wang Dongfang
Yang Qing
Zhao Yingjun
Li Weijian


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One Night in Supermarket

One Night in Supermarket - Film Screenshot 1

Story: The two enployees at a 24-hours supermarket, Li Junwei (Qiao Kimi) and Tang Xiaolian (Li Xiaolu), don't have much to do during their night shift. Li is simply there because he has feelings for Tang. Then, He Sanshui (Xu Zheng) enters the supermarket and demands the money which the owner of the shop (Yang Qing - but not the director) still owes him. It's not the first time that He turns up, which is why Tang doesn't take his more violent behavior than usual that serious. But suddenly masked Lun Tai (Wang Dongfang), He's cousin, enters the shop and the two employees as well as Li's wacky friend Zhu Liao (Zhao Yingjun) are tied up. Since the owner of the supermarket can't be reached, He decides to continue selling goods, but put the money in his own pocket. Selling goods doesn't turn out to be that easy with all the difficult customers you have to deal with and so He eventually enlists the assistance of Li. Meanwhile, the rest of the captives does everything in their power to get free. But their overseer Lun Tai is armed with a taser and also likes to make use of it. However, the night at the supermarket is only about to get even more chaotic...

One Night in Supermarket - Film Screenshot 2 One Night in Supermarket - Film Screenshot 3
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Review: Every now and and then you should give rather unknown movies a chance, too. Actually, "One Night in Supermarket" wasn't even on my list of soon-to-watch movies, but the fact that I have only little time for movies at the moment made this merely 90 minutes long comedy an interesting alternative. And that was a good thing! Because behind this movie with the slightly ungrammatical title hides an extremely fast-paced and clever directorial debut which oozes out youthful charm and energy. Just what Chinese cinema is in need of in order to be of importance internationally as well. Unfortunately, director Yang Qing didn't deliver another movie even seven years after his debut. That is quite a shame since this comedy has a few beginner's flaws that prevent it from becoming a true gem. A more mature Yang actually could deliver something great.

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First and foremost, the keen eye for details in the screenplay needs to be praised. Small facts which don't seem to be of importance at first are later on the source of several twists. Moreover, it's impressive how well the individual characters and their stories gear into each other, creating a well-achieved whole. The characters themselves may lack a bit of depth, but they aren't really in need of any since the actors all do their part in bestowing the necessary amount of color on the individuals, making you easily oversee this flaw. Apart from the several developments which are responsible for the film to never lose any momentum, there are also a few nice comedic scenes. But that's also where one of the first flaws of "One Night in Supermarket" becomes apparent. Yang Qing is overambitious.

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There is something to laugh about at every corner. But sometimes that's just what looks rather contrived, especially the slapstick moments. However, I don't want to give a false impression here. There never are any scenes which are truely awkward. It's just that not every joke hits the mark. Most of the time it's the deadpan humor and the physical element that gives the comedy a well-fitting humor. Particularly since it goes hand in hand with a very nice pacing. All of this is garnished by a fitting direction. And Yang Qing didn't restrain himself at all. He tries his hand at many different camera angles and every now and then tries some things you normally wouldn't when aiming at delivering a professional movie. Consequently, not everything looks perfect, sometimes things seem a bit unpolished, but that isn't really a bother and in fact is part of the movie's biggest appeal.

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And again, this isn't entirely true, because "One Night in Supermarket" is no amateur movie! It may have been shot with a small budget and the film's location is almost solely the supermarket, but the directing gives the movie, apart from its youthful lively charm, the necessary professional foundation most of the time, too. This is achieved by some nice, original editing and interesting special effects. In contrast to this there is a soundtrack that features interpretations of a piece from "Kill Bill" as well as the "Mission Impossible" theme. China has never shied away from this. But even that somehow fits into the movie and almost seems deliberately brash. Just the way you would expect from a young director who doesn't care about rules and thus brings some fresh ideas to the screen.

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The actors do their part in giving the film the necessary charm, too. Li Xiaolu ("About Love") and Qiao Kimi being the actual leads - although you can't be sure after all, if they are really in the film's focus - deliver solid performances, but as not to be expected otherwise it is Xu Zheng ("No Man's Land", "Lost in Thailand") who steals the show. Especially in the comedic scenes since he manages to carry the deadpan humor just perfectly. But every character comes with his own set of pecularities, which somehow make them likable, and the constant skirmishing - it's not that rare that everything gets out of hand - is simply fun to watch. No doubt, the movie sometimes goes over the top a bit, a few scenes are celebrated too much and could have been ironed out, but it's just this untamed energy of the flick that counts among its strong points. Along with the fact that director Yang never really loses control of his movie this makes "One Night in Supermarket" a clearly recommendable comedy.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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