Director: Han Jie
Han Jie, born in 1977 in the Shanxi Province of China, graduated from the Film and TV Production Department of Beijing Normal University in 2002. His graduation work New Year got the Best Short Film award of Beijing University Student Film Festival and Best Fiction Film of Beijing International DV Forum in 2003, and was invited to Pusan International Film Festival at the same year. In 2006, his first feature Walking On The Wild Side won the Tiger Award (best film) of International Film Festival Rotterdam and Silver Digital Award of Hong Kong International Film Festival. In 2008, he was invited by Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona and directed the short film Being And Nothingness.
His name is Shu. He lives in a bitterly cold mining village where the snow never really melts. Shu, a bachelor, is a not-very-reliable worker in the village’s motor-repair shop. He’s a regular in the bar at the entrance to the village. The friends he grew up with have followed very different paths. One of them, Er Zhu, has taken over the village mine and launched his own Mining Group to operate it; he now drives a luxury car. Another, Yixin, has opened a tutorial school in the faraway provincial capital. And others are still villagers. When he gets together with his friends, Shu tends to stay silent, like a tree forgotten in the wilderness – that is, unless the others start laughing at him. The day-and-night operations of the new mining company cause subsidence in the village and damage to some of the houses. The evacuation of villagers to new high-rise apartments in the county town begins. Shu instead takes off for the provincial capital to ask his old friend Yixin for a job. He does odd jobs in the school and finds that watching the young pupils reminds him of his own childhood. Shu lost both his stern father and his beloved elder brother when he was a child. His father often appears in his dreams, but (to his regret) his elder brother doesn’t. Even before leaving the village, Shu fell in love at first sight with Xiao Mei, a deaf-mute girl. But Shu finds ‘love’ difficult to come to terms with, and feels that it will cause a lot of trouble if he and Xiao Mei get married and live together. But they stay in touch with each other through SMS text messages, and Shu finally makes up his mind to marry her. So he returns to the village. On the night before the wedding, Shu’s elder brother at last appears in his dream. In the dream, the elder brother joins Shu’s wedding party and sings a song that was popular in the 1980s: “A Fire in Winter”. But the wedding is a disaster, and Xiao Mei soon leaves to rejoin her mother. The worries and intuitions which have long flashed through Shu’s mind start to make sense to him. He begins to make prophecies, and many of them come true. Suddenly Shu has a new status in the community. He’s a respected prophet, addressed by everyone as “Mr Shu”. The evacuation of the village is now almost complete; everyone has moved to the “New Sun City” development in the county town. Mr Shu embraces a tree in the deserted village. Suddenly his estranged bride Xiao Mei approaches him and speaks for the first time. She says: “Let’s go home.”