This Is Sanlitun

  • 2013
  • Movie
  • Comedy

A comedy by Robert Ingi Douglas. Set in the expat area of Sanlitun, Beijing. A pair of hapless ex-pats discover that Beijing isn’t the hotbed of entrepreneurial opportunity they had anticipated in this hilarious and timely look at the West’s obsession with the East. British sad sack Gary (Carlos Ottery) is a failed entrepreneur who has just arrived...read more

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A comedy by Robert Ingi Douglas. Set in the expat area of Sanlitun, Beijing.

A pair of hapless ex-pats discover that Beijing isn’t the hotbed of entrepreneurial opportunity they had anticipated in this hilarious and timely look at the West’s obsession with the East.

British sad sack Gary (Carlos Ottery) is a failed entrepreneur who has just arrived in Beijing's Sanlitun district, allegedly to start a business.

There are other reasons why he has uprooted himself — he's followed his ex-wife and young son, for one — but he soon finds out that China isn't the easiest place to succeed. Blissfully untouched by self-awareness, and only fitfully in tune with reality, Gary sallies forth to make money, armed with faith in himself and little to no knowledge of Chinese culture. He soon hooks up with Frank (Chris Loton), a trust-fund kid from Australia who offers to mentor Gary in Eastern ways, although Frank's pedagogical method is restricted to yelling at Gary for not being as "Chinese" as him.

This is Sanlitun premiered at The 38th Toronto International Film Festival in September 2013.

A selection of Chinese reviews via Google Translate

“The Morphology of Funny”

“The Ultimate Truth, Very Funny”

“Extremely Absurd! I Love It”

“A Cock of Breath Air”

“Brimming with spot-on observational humor, This is Sanlitun is a spirited comedy which offers a hilarious snapshot of expat life in Beijing”

John Berra, VCinema

Of Irish-Icelandic descent, Douglas has spent a considerable part of his life in Northern Ireland. His mother is Icelandic and is a retired civil servant and his Irish father is a geologist and teacher. As a young boy, his father would let him use his 8mm camera and later on, the family video camera, to make numerous short movies with his younger sister and friends, the first short being a sci-fi movie shot in a local quarry with a red filter over the lens called Life on Mars.

He worked at a video rentals store before shooting his first feature film. The video store, Videoheimar in Reykjavik in his debut film.

Douglas currently lives in Beijing, China, the setting of his latest movie THIS IS SANLITUN which is Douglas's first English language film.

Cast & Details

  • Released: 2013
  • Review: A comedy by Robert Ingi Douglas. Set in the expat area of Sanlitun, Beijing. A pair of hapless ex-pats discover that Beijing isn’t the hotbed of entrepreneurial opportunity they had anticipated in this hilarious and timely look at the West’s obsession wi… (more)

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