Review

  • Saw this at the Rotterdam film festival (IFFR) 2017. It may be heart breaking to witness the situations an illegal immigrant has to cope with, having no one they can trust. They cannot even rely on official looking "officials" who produce impressively looking documents, that however prove to be of no legal value after all. Similarly, when an accident happens in the factory where they work under abominable circumstances, the issue is settled with an amount that is non-negotiable. Even worse, a contract must be signed at the spot to relieve the factory of all burdens. The worker has no choice but admit he has been careless, so the factory is not to blame. By the way: this accident did not affect any of our main protagonists, but it was illustrative for their uncertain position without any legal rights to depend on.

    Apart from the helpless situation of the immigrants, obvious being the main theme, the apparent love story between Guo and Lianging can be considered a second story line to bind subsequent developments together. Throughout the running time I had no idea what Guo's intentions were to be so helpful towards Lianging (there was no sex involved, as established later). The synopsis on the festival website talked about a "tragic love story that will not leave the heart unmoved", but it fails on me completely. At best, it leaves me with the assumption that I probably misunderstood it all, and I thus missed the whole point of this "love affair".

    All in all, this movie has all the looks of piggybacking on contemporary themes like illegal immigrants, showing how deplorable their situation is, and how everyone is trying to take advantage of their helpless situation. A typical case of "opportunistic" film making?? Anyway, the festival audience did not fall for it either, as this movie got stuck at a lowly 102nd place (out of 172) for the audience award.