The Days- -
Wang Xiaoshuai’s debut feature was one of the first truly independent Mainland productions. An incisive portrait of urban anomie focusing on two bohemian artists who drift through the miasma of old Beijing in the 1980s, The Days presents a stark disparity to the nostalgic tone and lush visuals of the Fifth Generation with its defiant DIY aesthetic, non-professional leads and resolute present-tenseness.
Wang Xiaoshuai’s debut feature was one of the first truly independent Mainland productions.
The Days (冬春的日子; Dōng chūn de rìzǐ) is filmmaker Wang Xiaoshuai’s 1993 directorial debut. Filmed entirely in black-and-white, The Days follows the life of Dong (played by actor and artist Liu Xiaodong), and Chun (Yu Hong), married artists who have recently graduated from the Beijing Art Institute. Living meagerly in the hope of making enough money off their works, it soon becomes obvious to everyone but themselves that the marriage has begun to die.
Wang’s first film on his own after graduating from the Beijing Film Academy in 1989, The Days was shot on a meager budget of less than $10,000 (U.S.), with filming on the weekends with Wang’s friends playing the lead roles.
Made outside of the state film system, The Days was blacklisted upon its release by the Chinese Film Bureau. On the international front, however, the film was seen in a different light. Riding the high that Chinese cinema was enjoying abroad at the time (notably by older directors such as Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaige), Wang Xiaoshuai’s small independent film was an early indication that a new movement was beginning to supplant the old one.