Return to Dust
Youtie Ma lives in the Chinese countryside in a shed that stands in his elder brother's yard. But his presence is a thorn in the brother's side, as is that of Youtie's prized possession, a mule. Without much ado, Youtie is married off to Guiying Cao, a woman who is also seen as a burden by her family. Youtie and Guiying, two shy and modest people, slowly grow closer, genuine feelings of affection develop. The village where they live becomes depopulated due to the migration of residents to the city, but Youtie and Guiying build their own house there and start growing maize and potatoes.
In his sixth feature, director Li Ruijin sketches a melancholic portrait of contemporary China, a country in which traditional life is irreversibly supplanted by ever-advancing urbanisation and all-consuming materialism. But Return to Dust is above all a beautiful love story.