China, the 1980s. The turbulent decade is viewed through the eyes of four friends, whose variety troupe is affected by the struggle between the state and the influx of Westernised ideas.
Having impressed with the gritty, hand-held street drama Xiao Wu, sixth-generation director Jia Zhang-ke here adopts a more languid shooting style.
Some may be put off by the sprawling running time, but there's never a dull moment in the Fenyang Peasant Culture Group's circuitous transition from purveyors of propaganda pop into the slavishly Westernised, All-Star Rock And Breakdance Electronic Band. Setting the action in the rural town of Fenyang in the 1980s, Jia touches on the nature of change and its impact on individuals, as they discover the difficulties and dangers of their new-found cultural and sexual freedoms.
Superbly played, beautifully filmed, Platform is powerful Eastern filmmaking.