Although veteran director Chen Kaige (Yellow Earth, Farewell My Concubine) has made epics on Chinese dynastic history a specialty of his wide-ranging career, Caught in the Web shifts radically to our Internet-obessed present for a fascinating melodrama hinging on corporate intrigue and cyber-bullying.
Set in modern-day China, this byzantine thriller starts with a small incident: Ye Lan-Qiu (Gao Yuanyuan), a secretary for powerful businessman Shen Liu-Shu (Wang Xueqi), is told at a routine medical check that she is showing symptoms of terminal cancer. Still in shock, Lan-Qiu refuses to give up her seat on the bus to an elderly man and is verbally accosted by fellow passengersan incident captured on camera by Yang Jia-Qi (May Wang), an ambitious intern at a local television station. The aftermath affects her personal and professional life as the power brokering and the strategies used by both sidesportrayed as a cynical satire on the Chinese media climate, becomes a riveting and well-woven ensemble piece about media manipulation.
Directed by Chen Kaige, 2012, China, 121 mins. In Chinese with English subtitles.Chen Kaige on China's New Filmmaking Machine TimeOut HK: director interview