Lost in Beijing: Chinese Babies Are Up for Sale

Two modern couples of distant social strata convene at crotch-level in Lost in Beijing. Lin Dong (Tony Leung Ka-fai) is the moneyed owner of a rubdown parlor, and Liu Ping Guo (Fan Bingbing), one of his masseuses, goes home to a cell of an apartment and her husband, An Kun (Tong Da Wei), a high-rise window cleaner. One evening she gets crocked and passes out at work, then comes to with the boss on top of her—and who should bear witness but hubby, squeegeeing outside. Pregnancy intensifies the crisis, but as Dong’s wife (Elaine Jin) is infertile, he submits an indecent proposal to purchase the baby. The selling point here is director Li Yu’s tangle with government censors over the movie—admirable—and maybe what I take for granted is something that mainland China needs to see. But we’re past the Curious (Yellow) days that could call a tit revolutionary, or convince the pocket-pool crowd to brave subtitles. The prevalent shooting style is monotonous naturalism, as the camera buzzes between contentious actors and trolls after anything on the move. No performance registers quite so much as the capital city itself, a burgeoning-but-sepulchral range of skyscrapers receding into a Sheetrock-toned sky.