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Mang Ying

Blind Shaft
Blinder Schacht

China/Hong Kong/Germany 2003
produced by
Li Yang for Tang Splendour Films, Bronze Age Films
directed by Li Yang
starring Li Yixiang, Wang Shuangbao, Wabng Baoqiang, An Jing, Bao Zhenjiang, Wei Sun, Zhao Jun, Wang Yining
screenplay by Li Yang, based on Sacred Wood by Liu Qingbang, music by Zhang Yadong

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Song (Li Yixiang) and Tang (Wang Shuangbao) are poor miners, who journey from one mine to the next to make enough money to send it back home so they can afford their sons a good school. So, to get a bit of extra cash, they have come up with an evil plan: They regularly pick up guys at employment offices and tell them that they have got jobs for them, but they have to pose as a relative of one of them.

After a few days, when alone in a mine, Song and Tang kill the third guy, their relative, but make it look like a cave-in. Then they wait for the mine's boss to pay them money to hush tehm up (which the bosses regularly do to avoid a scandal or inspection or whatever). Then Tang and Song move on, to look for their next victim ...

This time, their prospected victim is young Yuan Fengming, just 16 years old but forced to work for a living since he can no longer afford school. Soon enough, Tang and Song have persuaded him to come with them as their nephew, but somehow the whole thing doesn't sem right: Yuan Fengming could be the son of either of them, and what's more, he could be the son of the last miner the two have killed, but still, their money weighs more than their conscience.

At least, the two figure, they could be nice to him, and let him have his first woman in a brothel ... an experience though that proves to be traumatic for young Yuan Fengming. And then, the boy is so nice and trusting and returns all the favours they do to him in kind ...

However, eventually our two villains ahve set a date to dispose of Yuan Fengming, and the date seems to be perfect, since on that day some mineshafts are blown up, and what better way for the boy to have an accident ...

It's only when Song and Tang are already preparing to kill him that they instead get at each others throat, and ultimately Yuan Fengming gets out of the mine unscathed while Song and Tang die in the explosion.

Ironically, it is now Yuan Fengming who gets paid hushmoney to not spill the beans on his relatives' deaths ...


Well-done and very amoral crime flick, which is actually more of a bitter social commentary disguised as a genre film that's rich on atmosphere and unusual plottwists. And ultimately the film proves that a very downbeat subject matter and an entertaining film do not have to be contradictions.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD