The Day Is Over

The Day Is Over

China (2021, dir. Qi Rui, 108 mins)

In Qi Rui’s hauntingly lyrical debut, a child grappling with impoverishment and absent parents dreams of a different life.

After her classmates humiliate her with a false accusation of theft, young schoolgirl Zhang Jiaxing decides to leave her remote village to track down her migrant-worker father in the big city of Shenzhen. Joined by two friends and a silent third tag-along, she embarks on an odyssey that will take her across mountains and towns. But her low-socio-economic circumstances, an unexpectedly acquired debt and the indifference of local adults make escape look increasingly out of reach.

Filming in the highlands of his home province of Hunan, and inspired by real events, Qi Rui crafts a sensitive examination of the children left behind by China’s economic acceleration as well as the bonds of friendship that sustain them. Naturalistically shot and elegantly encapsulating a child’s view on an uncaring grown-up world, The Day Is Over has earned comparisons to the works of Iranian master Abbas Kiarostami and collected the nod for best Chinese-language film in the Firebird Young Cinema Competition at this year’s Hong Kong International Film Festival.

“Qi’s feature debut gives its story air to breathe … [and] allows the fable to flow in a way which is somewhere between documentary and drama.” – Backseat Mafia

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Language: Mandarin, with English subtitles
Genre: Drama
Classroom discussion points: Family and absent parents, impact of economic changes, rural and urban China (differences), authority and gender, technology and communication, mortality
Age suitability advice:
MIFF recommends this film as suitable for ages 11+