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Return To Dust (Yin Ru Chen Yan, 隐入尘烟)

Director – Li Ruijin – 2022 – China – Cert. PG – 133m

***1/2

When two misfits are put into an arranged marriage by their respective, concerned families, a kindly, gentle relationship blossoms – played in the 2022 Edinburgh Film Festival, forthcoming UK release Friday, November 4th 2022

His family are worried about Iron Ma (Wu Renlin), also known as fourth brother. He seems content to live off his little piece of land tilling it with his donkey to grow crops, and raising pigs and chickens. He is less ambitious than third brother, who runs the local market and sets the prices for which crops are bought off local farmers. Third brother has done well for himself, and drives around in a flashy car. By way of contrast, Ma gets around by walking, or donkey and cart if he has produce to transport.

Her family are likewise worried about Cao Guiying (Hai Qing), a shy woman who can’t control her bladder. Both Ma and Cao’s respective families view their offspring as a liability and want to get them married off as soon as possible, not least to get out of being responsible for them. So they arrange a marriage for the pair of them to get them off their hands.… Read the rest

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Features Live Action Movies

Ròm

Director – Tran Thanh Huy – 2019 – Vietnam – Cert. 12a – 79m

*****

An urban street kid works as a lottery runner to survive while a slightly older boy attempts to steal his turf – from the London East Asia Film Festival (LEAFF), on now

Spending his nights alone in his slum rooftop shack under the stars shooting tin cans with a catapult, young teenager Ròm (Tran Ahn Khoa) must live by his wits. The tenants of his block, like all the city’s residents, are obsessed with the lottery, the only chance any of them have of getting out of poverty. He spends his days going around collecting bets, racing to place them with the bookies on time then racing back equally fast to deliver the results as soon as they’re announced.

If the numbers win, people collect their money and he’s a local hero. If they don’t his customers may beat him up. It’s a challenging and desperate lifestyle, right down at the bottom of the social pile, yet a part of him seems to thrive on it, almost like some indescribable, youthful affirmation of life.

In the course of trying to impress the local, pool playing gangster, older homeless teeenager Phúc (Nguyen Phuc Anh Tu) – who took his name from a Westerner he worked for some time back who used a simiar sounding word a lot – attempts to muscle in on Ròm’s customers and turf.… Read the rest

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Features Live Action Movies

Sócrates

Director – Alexandre Moratto – 2018 – Brazil – Cert. 15 – 71m

*****

In selected UK cinemas and digital rental platforms including Barbican Cinema on Demand, BFI Player, Curzon Home Cinema and Peccadillo Player from Friday, September 4th

It’s morning in coastal São Paulo. Sócrates (Christian Malheiros), 15, goes in to see his mum in her room. But she doesn’t wake up. He is consumed with grief. The lady social worker talks to him, but his emotions are so consuming he can’t hear her. She tells him, if a guardian can’t be found, he’ll be put in a home.

He doesn’t want that, but if he’s to stay where he is, the rent has to be paid. He works his mum’s literally crappy job cleaning lavatories with a co-worker, but the boss won’t give Sócrates his mum’s money, she must collect it in person. He prints out fliers of his resume, negotiating a three payments of 50 cents deal with the shop manageress, and hands them out. He gets a lead on a shop that’s hiring and lies about his age on the form, an untruth that will disqualify him for the job when they fact-check.

A thick, red comb in the bathroom holds some of his mother’s hair.… Read the rest