By Pengfei SONG


First film - Completed 2012

An underground love story in the ultra modern and developed city of Beijing. This adventure will lead us to the discovery of another side of globalization in China.

& Awards

Venice - Biennale 2015
Venice Days-FEODORA Award
Chicago IFF 2015
New Talent-Best Film Award
    • Year of production
    • 2012
    • Genres
    • First film
    • Countries
    • Languages
    • Budget
    • 0.6 - 1 M$
    • Duration
    • 100 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Pengfei SONG
    • Writer(s)
    • Pengfei SONG
    • Producer(s)
    • Vincent WANG, Olia LAU (Mishaka)
    • Synopsis
    • The story begins in this underground city. Yong Le is one of the many southerners who came to the city in search of a living. He lives in a tiny rented space not more than 20 square meters in the underground city of Beijing's North City. He's been here for some time and has worked as a demolition laborer before, mindlessly breaking things down among broken tiles and walls every day. He has witnessed many farmers being paid handsome sums of money in exchange for their land. These farmers left in their brand new luxury cars, stirring up the dry dust of their old farmlands, making it difficult to breath. At the end of each day, Yong Le returns to his gloomy underground residence and collapses in
      bed in total exhaustion. There are many young women who have come to work in the city living in the underground city as well. The women are in the prime of their youth, but whenever Yong Le brushes shoulders with them, he would look away in self-deprecating shame, suppressing his inner desires for emotional connection.
      Sometime later, Yong Le takes on a new job as a welder, and, in an unfortunate accident, suffers burns on his eyes. With his eyes covered by a bandage, he can only move around the underground cell by feeling his way around. Romance comes knocking in a dramatic twist of fate.
      In order to help him find his way back from the toilet, Yong Le fastens a rope to his doorknob and slowly feels his way to the toilet. While he is in the toilet, a girl, whom Yong Le had encountered briefly before, accidentally kicks loose his rope. When Yong Le comes out of the
      toilet and can't find his rope, he starts feeling the ground frantically, giving the girl a scare. After some explanation, the girl helps Yong Le find his way back to his room. Just like that, two drifting souls living in the dim and humid underground city, become connected by a piece of rope, stirring up their desires for the opposite gender and love. Over the next few days, Yong Le spends his time recuperating in his room, silently listening to every movement in his underground room. At night, the girl would visit him after work, caring for him and making him feel loved; a feeling he hasn't felt in a long time. Regrettably, Yong Le never gets to see the face of this girl. He can only sense her presence through her voice, her touch, and her smell. On the very day he recovers his sight, unfortunately, the girl moves away without telling him, leaving behind only her smell on his bed. He tries to recall her voice and her smell, searching in vain for a person who seems to have vanished into thin air. Yong Le changes several jobs after that; selling tortoises, drivers at traffic lights, parking attendant, etc. He constantly thinks of ways to earn more money. At the same time, he becomes extremely sensitive to the scent in the air around him, especially when a woman walks past him. Before long, his underground residence is confiscated by the government for redevelopment. By now, his working conditions have improved, and he moves to a new residence above ground. His chances of meeting the girl again diminish as he moves out of the underground city, but he continues to search for her···. Workers like Yong Le come from all over China to Beijing, taking on its most lowly jobs and living a rootless life with an uncertain future. It's as if they are dropped into a whirlpool, unable to sink, and unable to get out at the same time. For this reason, they have come to be known by a beautiful but sad nickname – the Southern Drifters.
    • Partners & financing
    • Financing in Place USD 450 000 € / PPP Goal Co-production / Torino FilmLab Production Award
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