Documentary filmmaker Wu Hao's mystery detention has sparked outrage among human rights groups, who are demanding Chinese authorities organise his immediate release.
The Beijing-based film-maker has been in custody since Feb. 22, but Hao's sister Wu Na has been refused information about the "secret" case.
She says, "They told me there was no way I can see him. I'm really shocked at this development. This is a place that's administered by law and yet they can't tell me anything."
Hao returned to China in 2004 to make documentary-style films after spending 12 years in the U.S., and was working on a film about unregistered Christian churches in China before he went missing.
Both The Committee To Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders are calling for Hao's immediate release.
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The oft-trod theme of the disintegration of tradition is the subject of this curious glance at Chinese bathhouse culture. Cell phone-talking city-dwelling Da Ming (Pu Cun Xin) returns to his childhood home having mistaken a postcard from his mentally handicapped brother to mean that their father has passed away. Instead he finds dad and brother alive and well and catering to their clientele of old men who soak in tubs receive scrubs and rubs and generally wile away an afternoon wrestling crickets and bickering. When his father's health fails and the wrecking ball threatens to replace the bathhouse with a shopping mall Da Ming's return to big city life hangs in the balance.
This keenly observant film reveals an array of authentic singular characters the quirky denizens of the bathhouse. Jing Wu is endearing as the simple-minded merry Er Ming who is devoted to the staid if steamy life of the bathhouse. Zhu Xu plays his father as devoted to his loving handicapped son as he is disappointed by Da Ming the rejecting son.
Zhang Yang follows up on his international success "Spicy Love Soup" with this well executed but unexceptional rendering of a familiar theme. Nonetheless cinematic attention to detail and subtle characterizations bring interest.