Edinburgh Film Festival will be with us next month. Like many films there is so many to choose, which ones should we see? Modern Films would love us to check out Chinese drama, Return To Dust which is set for a UK Premiere.
The film is the sixth feature from filmmaker Li Ruijun. A poetic, tender love story with deep political undertones, socio-economic impact and cues for cultural change. The film stars Wu Renlin and Hai Quing forced into arranged marriages by their families. They build a home to survive, In the face of much adversity. An unexpected bond begins to blossom, against all odds.
The poetic sixth feature from Chinese writer-director Li Ruijun, Return To Dust traces the evolving love story of two outcasts, yoked together by an arranged marriage that defies expectation and quietly blooms into a beautifully pure romance. They fall in love, against the odds and despite so many conflicting external conditions.
The film follows an improbable middle-aged pair, the reserved Ma (Wu Renlin), a poor farmer who only owns one donkey, and the disabled and unmarried Guiying (Hai Quing). Both are openly spoken of as the burden of their families and, as such, are match-made without any say in the matter. Despite their arranged marriage, Li goes on to paint a portrait of a burgeoning relationship, made up of delicate moments, small joys, and selfless devotion, as their seed of loving connection grows to stand the many tests of their inhospitable environment.
A thoughtful meditation on the loss of a simpler way of rural life, Return To Dust is a heartwarming tale of perseverance. Set in 2010 in the landlocked Gansu province of Northwest China, the impending threat of urbanisation relentlessly encroaches on their attempts to build a home together, and on the beauty they find in the simplicity of agrarianism. Shot during the pandemic and filmed over the course of a calendar year, the seasons blossom from winter to summer, much like the crops they laboriously tend and their flourishing love.
Return To Dust will make it’s UK Premiere at Edinburgh Film Festival on 14th August. Modern Films will release the film in the UK on 4th November.