Western Trunk Line is set in Xigandao, a grey industrial town in the north of China where many urban dwellers - often whole families - were sent during the Cultural Revolution. Hardly the ideal place to be a teenager in 1978. The world is small and there is no understanding whatsoever for someone who walks out of step.
No wonder that Li Siping gets into trouble. He never listens to his dominant, complaining mother (played with occasionally hysterical screaming by Zhao Haiyan); his father is an introverted army doctor. His young, dreamy brother ‘Square Head’ is appointed to make sure he goes to work, but Siping won't shape up. He steals things from factory sites, spies on women workers showering and tries to listen to foreign radio stations. When 18-year-old Yu Xueyan, the musician from distant Beijing, comes to work in the house across the road from Siping, his life slowly gains some meaning.
Li Jixian’s second feature is a subtle, elegantly-told drama that continuously surprises and turns out unexpectedly complex. Various themes - family, growing up, the consequences of uprooting - eventually come together movingly in a production beautifully filmed by cameraman Wang Yu (who has also worked with Lou Ye and Tian Zhuang-zhuang among others). (GT)

Original title
Xi gan dao
Filmmaker
Li Jixian
Premiere
World premiere
Country
China, Japan
Year
2006
Medium
35mm
Length
101’
Language
Mandarin
Producer
Zhao Hai Cheng, Suzuki Hajime
Production Company
China Film Group Co., Wako Company Ltd
Sales
Wako Company Ltd
Writer
Li Jixian, Li Wei
Cinematography
Wang Yu
Editor
Zhou Xinxia
Production Design
Quan Rongzhe
Sound Design
Li Xuelei, Li Heping
Music
Zhao Li
Cast
Li Jie, Zhang Dengfeng