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.