Archive of films Blind Shaft / Mang jing

Hong Kong / Germany
2002, 92 min

Section: Horizons - Award-Winning Films
Year: 2003

Chaolu, who has just started working at the mines, descends into the coal pit with Song and Tang. But a violent death awaits him below, and his “partners,” pretending it was a tragic accident, force compensation out of the mine owner as relatives of the deceased. Then they set out to look for another “relative,” and find a 16-year-old villager named Yuan. The film took a 2003 Silver Bear at Berlin, and was honoured at the 2003 Asian Film Festival in Deauville with Best Film, Director and Actor, as well as the Audience Award and Critics’ Prize.   


Synopsis

On a frosty winter morning in Northern China, miners descend into their underworld. Song Jinming and Tang Chaoyang are part of the crew, as is Tang’s brother Chaolu who has only been on the job a few days. Down in the pit something unexpected happens: the two men kill Chaolu and then cause a cave-in to make it look like a tragic accident. They report the incident to the local police, thereby forcing the mine owner, who operates his mine in violation of safety regulations and employs people illegally, to pay them compensation as members of the dead man’s family. With the money in their pocket they set out to look for another “relative” in order to repeat the performance. They find one at the local train station where many people wait looking for work. Sixteen-year-old Yuan comes from a village, and after his father failed to return from his job in the mines, he has been forced to leave school and look for work. Tang offers to find something for the kid, but on one condition: he’s got to pretend that he’s Song’s nephew. This time, however, Song is against killing their chosen victim: the trusting Yuan is too young and innocent. A rupture emerges in the alliance.... The film took a 2003 Silver Bear at Berlin, and was honoured at the 2003 Asian Film Festival in Deauville with Best Film, Director and Actor, as well as the Audience Award and Critics’ Prize.   

About the director

Li Yang (b. 1959, Xian) comes from a family of actors. He left for Beijing after high school and acted at the China Youth Arts Theatre for seven years. During this period he studied direction and afterward left for Germany. There he studied German literature at the Free University in Berlin (1989-90), attended lectures in drama theory at Ludwig-Maxmillian Universität in Munich (1990-92), and finally ended up at the Cologne Art College for Media to study film direction. At the same time he worked as an actor for German television, and shot documentaries: Women’s Kingdom (1991), Happy Swan Song (1994) and The Wake (1996). He now lives in Beijing. Blind Shaft, which he also wrote and produced, is the director’s feature debut. The film took a 2003 Silver Bear at Berlin, and was honoured at the 2003 Asian Film Festival in Deauville with Best Film, Director and Actor, as well as the Audience Award and Critics’ Prize.  

Contacts

The Film Library U.S.A.
2010 West 29th Street, CA 90018, Los Angeles
United States of America
Tel: +1 310 603 8748
Fax: +1 310 362 8890
E-mail: thefilmlibrary@aol.com

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Horizons - Award-Winning Films
   
Director: Li Yang
Screenplay: Li Yang
Dir. of Photography: Liu Yonghong
Editor: Yang Li, Karl Riedl
Producer: Li Yang, Xiaoye Hu
Production: Bronze Age Films Co.,Ltd.
Cast: Li Yixiang, Wang Shuangbao, Wang Baoqiang, An Jing, Bao Zhenjiang, Zhao Junzhi, Wang Yining, Liu Zhenqi, Zhang Lulu, Zhao Hong
Contact: The Film Library U.S.A.
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