The Missing Gun

Director: Lu Chuan, Chuan Lu
Screenwriters: Lu Chuan

Institute History

  • 2003 Sundance Film Festival


Imagine a culture where the government bans the ownership of firearms to all but soldiers and police in hopes of ensuring the social tranquility of its people. Welcome to modern China and the world of The Missing Gun.

This high-octane comedic whodunit begins when troubled detective Ma Shan wakes up to the terrifying conclusion that his state-issued pistol is missing. Worked into a panic doubled by hungover confusion as to its whereabouts, Ma is forced to follow the clues and sometimes ill-advised theories of friends and family in his desperate race to redeem himself. The dilemma quickly moves from private distress to provincial emergency when his Communist superiors demand the gun's capture in three days or else—thrusting Ma into an existential crisis that will take him on a journey of shame, oppression, and finally, in the film's stunning conclusion…freedom?

Using an imaginative camera that draws out a colorful humanity, The Missing Gun is a highly stylized political fable about the power and tensions of a distinctly masculine identity. The film marks the exciting directorial debut of 30-year-old Lu Chuan and adds a notch to the barrel for Asian star Jiang Wen in an irreverent lead performance that will literally leave you speechless.

— Joseph Beyer

Screening Details

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