Four friends come up with an unusual idea to make some money and have fun doing it. For a small fee, they will impersonate and act out any character role for their customers. In the course of executing this novel service, they encounter a whole spectrum of people in society, finding ways to genuinely help them boost their morale and overcome their fears, while gaining unusual and new insights into the human condition.
A married village worker teams up with an old girlfriend to try to dig a well for his water-starved village. The well collapses and they are trapped. Their enforced confinement leads to them exploring their feelings for each other and those around them.
When engineer Zhao Shuxin loses his prized black cannon chess piece in a hotel room, he sends a telegram stating, “Missing black cannon, search in 301 for Zhao.” But the message is intercepted by Chinese authorities, setting in motion a bumbling investigation that only becomes more ridiculous with each passing day. Huang Jianxin’s rare (for its time) political comedy takes on China’s bureaucracy and authorities, using wit and satire to accomplish what most filmmakers wouldn’t dare to attempt.
In pre-revolutionary China, a local lord owns a fireworks factory that he leaves to his daughter, having no male heir. Chun Zhi takes control of the factory at only 19 years old, but she commands the respect of her workers, who make no issue of either her age or her gender. Unfortunately, Zhi inherited the factory under the stipulation that she never marry, a condition that becomes problematic when she falls for a traveling artist.
Beijing, the Seventies. Now that the Cultural Revolution has driven most adults to the provinces, 14-year old Monkey and his pals have free reign over the city. They hang around, get up to no good and discover that unsolvable mystery more commonly referred to as ‘girls’.