Watch Now: CHINA GIRL
American director Abel Ferrara and screenwriter Nicholas St. John have collaborated on a total of nine films together, including The Driller Killer, Body Snatchers, King of New York and China Girl. The latter, a contemporary version of William Shakespeare’s tragedy Romeo and Juliet and the 1957 Broadway musical West Side Story, is set in Manhattan in the 1980s and follows American-Italian teenager Tony (played by Richard Panebianco) and Chinese girl Tye (portrayed by Sari Chang) as they unexpectedly fall in love while their brothers are getting caught up in a war between the rival gangs of Little Italy and Chinatown.
Rated R due to its depiction of violence, Ferrara’s gripping tale of love and loss is a cinematic gem of exceptional style and substance, dealing with tensions that are not only racial in nature, but intergenerational as well. Montenegrin cinematographer Bojan Bazelli, who went on to shoot Ferrara’s King of New York and Body Snatchers, had his feature debut with China Girl, using the busy streets of the Lower East Side to his advantage, so as to draw us in with his dynamic cinematography. Ferrara’s tale of two young star-crossed lovers is a well-acted, well-written and beautifully shot piece of cinema that, despite being entirely fictional, manages to sustain an air of authenticity.