(aka "Ren xiao yao (China)" or "Ao no inazuma (Japan)" or "Plaisirs inconnus (France)")


directed by Jia Zhang-Ke
China 2002


With rising unemployment and poverty due to the failure of communism, on one side, and the introduction of western decadence, on the other side, contemporary China is, in the eyes of many, a country without a moral compass, which leads to social alienation and a existential angst, which seems to be the motif of the sixth generation directors.

One of the most interesting directors of the sixth generation is Jia Zhang-Ke, who himself drifted until he began to study film and who after filmschool made a stunning debut with “Xiao Wu” (Pickpocket, 1997). In his latest film, “Unknown Pleasures”, Jia Zhang-Ke tells the story of two friends, who, in their last year as teenagers, face not only alienation from the expectations of their parents, but also an existential angst befalling them in a society without moral, where wealth seems to be the only value. Dissaffected they drift around in a enstranged contemporary China, which is changing far to fast to have a sense of purpose - unless you give in to capitalism.

Jia Zhang-Ke demonstrates complete control of the media. Where "Xiao Wu" looks amateurish, "Unknown Pleasures" has a very strict mise-en-scene, using space to isolate its elements. It also notes upon his motifs and style, which by now is so matured and developed, that even though there are visible lines Wenders and Bresson, Jia is independt enough, to allow himself to pay homage to Godard and Antonioni in two distinct sequences. Jia Zhang-Ke looks more and more as the key figure of the sixth generation.
 out of      

Henrik Sylow


Theatrical Release: May 22nd, 2002 - Cannes International Film Festival

Reviews    More Reviews  DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Artificial Eye (2 x disc) - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Henrik Sylow for the Review!

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Artificial Eye

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 1:47:36 (4% PAL speedup)

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.31 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s


NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Audio 2.0 Mandarin
Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:

Director Interview




Directors Statement

DVD Release Date: February 23rd, 2004
Transparent 2 Disc Amaray

Chapters 12

Comments As a second disc, Artificial Eye has added Jua Zhang-Ke's first film "Xiao Wu" (Pickpocket, 1997). Reviewed HERE.

This double disc is not only a wonderful introduction to sixth generation, but also to one of the most interesting contemporary Chinese directors.

 - Henrik Sylow



Recommended Reading in Chinese/Hong Kong/Taiwanese Cinema (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)


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