This intimate exposé explores the psyche of an emblematic Chinese youth in crisis, socially dislocated and struggling to find identity and purpose in a rapidly changing reality.
Growing up on the wind-blown plains of Inner Mongolia, Dong developed an unbridled spirit and a belief in the virtues of simple, natural living. When his family migrated south seeking opportunity, like millions of others during China’s economic transformation, Dong found his ideals at odds with the values of a society industrializing at breakneck speed and in the early throws of consumerist frenzy. More than a decade later, Dong is now derided as a loser. A dreamer who has lost his way, he has become a listless young adult battling bouts of depression and substance abuse without a sense of place or purpose. He is beginning to solemnly withdraw from society.
When an old friend and filmmaker returns to his city with a video camera in hand on the eve of Dong’s 30th birthday, something in him stirs and he begins pouring out his most intimate thoughts. Over the course of a year, filmmaker Tao Gu accompanies Dong in his struggles with family and society, sex and love, and identity and survival as a young man in modern China.
The resulting portrait is that of foundering, disillusioned youth in a brutal confrontation with their imposed reality; a sympathetic record on the human condition in contemporary China; and a raw cry for freedom.
124 minutes, in Mandarin Chinese with English subtitles.