Review by Ross Anthony

For a filmed entitled, "Shower" there's an awful lot of bathing going on. A business man/estranged son receives a card from his retarded younger brother seemingly indicating that their father has died. Hence, the older brother makes a trip to northern China only to find the father still alive. This unexpected reunion is a catalyst for retying untied family ties. It's sweet and unique; a charming story sure to move you.

The father and younger brother operate an old fashion bathhouse in northern China complete with cricket fights, Chinese chess, and bickering old men. Unfortunately, the bathhouse is an endangered species in an ancient part of town soon to be lost to modernization.

"Shower" is a sweet little drama, warm and homey, like a fireplace or a hot bath. And though it moves gently, the pace is perfect, occasionally punctuated by a loud audio hit, like a thunderbolt or throaty wisp of coal fire, to keep you from getting too comfortable.

The filmmakers leave a few buckets of backstory untold; namely, the reasons for the ill will between the father and older son. However, this not only frees us to enjoy the story at hand, but also gives the film another element of curious allure. Though still not necessary, eventually the father explains the reason for the separation. Fortunately, he doesn't expend more than a sentence on this rather expository history.

To nit-pick one last time, the film takes another baby step too far while discussing the neighborhood, "The buildings are like old people, no matter how much you fix them up ... they're still old." It's a fine analogy that would have been made stronger by letting the voice remain metaphoric. The "Like old people" interjection subtracts from the profundity; it's redundant, we can already see those words in the old man's eyes!

But these are petty grievances, the bulk of this flick is high quality story telling. I quite enjoyed it! (In Mandarin with English Subtitles)

  • Shower. Copyright © 2000. Rated PG-13.
  • Starring Zhu Xu, Pu Cun Xin, Jiang Wu, He Zheng, Zhang Jin Hao, Lao Lin, Lao Wu.
  • Director/Editor/Writer Zhang Yang.
  • Produced by Peter Loehr a Sony Classics Release.


Copyright © 2000. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 07:53:42 PDT