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China / Germany / Hong Kong, 2003 (MIFF 2003, Regional Focus)

Director: Li Yang

Song and Tang are coal miners, working under torturous and unsafe conditions. When Tang's brother, Chaolu, arrives for a visit, they convince him to join them in the mine. Deep underground, they kill Chaolu, and manage to cause the mine to collapse just before escaping unharmed. Feigning outrage, they manage to extort compensation from the owner in exchange for keeping quiet about the fatality. With their pockets full of money, the two men set off in search of another 'relative', and soon come across 16-year-old farmhand Yuan. However this time, their scheming doesn't quite go accordingly to plan.

A stunning expose of the darkest side of China's industrialisation program, Blind Shaft is a tour-de-force for director Li Yang, as he made this gritty, verite-style drama without the approval of Chinese officials. Winner of a Silver Bear at this year's Berlin Film Festival for Outstanding Artistic Achievement, Li Yang's Blind Shaft is a powerful and realistic expenence with a stunning, unexpected twist in its tail.

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