Directed by Zhang Lu, China, 2009
Writer-director Zhang Lu’s fascinating window into a rarely seen corner of rural China revolves around 12-year-old Chang-ho, living with his grandfather and mute sister along the frozen river-border with North Korea. Although fraught with unemployment and other tensions, his community seems sympathetic toward the Korean refugees fleeing famine and misery; Chang-ho even bonds over soccer with one young border-crosser who comes scavenging food for a sibling. But he soon turns on his new friend as suspicions mount against the illegal immigrants and his sister reels from unexpected aggression, provoking a quandary over his loyalties in an exquisitely detailed story of compassion and strife across an uneasy geopolitical border.
Part of the Global Lens 2011 film series, presented by the Global Film Initiative. For more information, visit globalfilm.org .