Director: TAO PENG
This heart-tugging glimpse into the depths of how a society based on greed will treat its children was considered a nearly “perfect film,” by the Vancouver film-fest people where it premiered this year. With almost no budget, a hand-held digital camera and a bunch of vivid, energetic long takes, first-time director, Peng Tao, brings small town China to suspenseful life.
Luo Jiang and Guithua are a poor middle-aged rural couple with few prospects. They decided to purchase an 11- year-old girl, Xiao Ezi (“Little Moth”) who suffers from a blood disease which leaves her unable to walk. Their plan, like something out of a Charles Dickens novel, is to use the girl to beg for money from passersby. It is here when their plan goes awry when they infringe on the begging territory of a mysterious Mr. Yang and his one-armed boy. Far from exploiting the situation for melodrama, Peng’s cool, naturalistic, ultra-realist camera draws us even closer to the characters. The performances, partly improvised by exclusively non-professional actors, were considered astonishing.
(In Mandarian w/Eng. subtitles)
CHINA • 2007 • 99 MINUTES • DIRECTOR: TAO PENG