Shower, directed by Zhang Yang, 1999, China

Lao Liu (old man Liu), proprietor of an old Beijing bathhouse scheduled to be torn down to make room for new developments; a widower in his 70s in poor health and father of two grown sons; dedicated to serving his customers as a masseuse and very devoted to his second son who is mentally challenged; finds his work spiritually fulfilling and views it as a healing and therapeutic process for others; originally from Shan Bei, a province known for its scarcity of water; wife traded rice for water and bathed once before marriage;

Da Ming, elder son of old Liu and a successful businessman in Shenzhen, a very prosperous economic region one bridge away from Hong Kong, the commercial center of Asia and enblem of Chinese capitalism; visits his father in Beijing after getting a postcard from his brother whose handdrawn pictures mislead him to believe his father is dying; brings an electric massager as an act of filial piety; torn between his career and the life in the past lane, and his duties and obligations to those family members who are retarded and old; decides to bring brother to Shenzhen after his father dies

ermingEr Ming, old man Liu’s second son, mentally retarded and illiterate, emotionally and psychologically unstable and dependent; helps father in his various jobs during the day; enjoys jogging and cleaning the bathhouse with his father after it is closed in the evening


He Zheng, jack of all trades and a slacker; owns an automobile; hopes one day to become a wealthy businessman and live an easy life as his old friend Da Ming of childhood days; thinks of opening up a hot dog stand; talks big but seldom acts to keep his promises; comes to the bathhouse only as a hide-out place from the loan sharks going after him

Zhang Jinhou, one of the bathhouse regular customers; impotent for years after seeing wife running naked in public after the thief who had stolen her gold necklace while in a public bathhouse; sleeps in old man Liu’s bathhouse to avoid constant bickering with his wife; impotence cured when taking a bath with his wife in the bathhouse after it is closed;
Singer, one of the bathhouse regular customers; an amateur singer but often incapacitated by stage fright except when in the shower


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