Grain in Ear

  • 109'
  • China
  • 2005
Cui Shunji is one of over 2 million ethnic Koreans in China. With her little son, she rents a small concrete hut in an industrial town somewhere in the north of China. Day and night, she is disturbed by the shouting and giggling of the prostitutes who work by the railway. Her husband is in jail. Without any official permit, Cui Shunji scrapes together a living by selling kimchi, the Korean national dish. Things change slightly to her advantage when she gets hold of a permit from a friendly policeman, and also has an affair with the married Kim, another Chinese Korean. When their relationship is discovered, Kim tries to save his marriage. This is followed by a dramatic series of events that lead to revenge. The denouement of Grain in Ear is based on a true story. The film illustrates how women always lose out through sex, social class and economic position - even when they take revenge. Zhang's film is a beautiful formalist melodrama. While the film is a little less dry and tragic than his feature début Tang Poetry, in Grain in Ear the camera does not move either until the final scene. And the visitor has to carry on listening closely for a little while after the screen goes black... With Grain in Ear, Zhang Lu took the major award at the latest Pusan Festival. (GT)
Zhang Lu
Countries of production
China, South Korea
Production Year
Festival Edition
IFFR 2006
Original title
Mang zhong
Mandarin, Korean
Doo Entertainment Co.Ltd, Shu Film Workshop, Choi Doo-Young, Guan Qin
Doo Entertainment Co.Ltd
Zhang Lu
Liu Yonghong
Kim Sun-Min
Liu Lianji, Jin Bo