The young Chinese film maker Yang Jin (1982), trained as a photographer and director, made his début in 2004 with the prize-winning The Black and White Milk Cow. In this sober story about a teacher in a poor district of China, Yang's commitment to those who seem have missed out on economic progress is clearly visible. His second feature, named after the protagonist Er Dong (‘winter child’), looks like a documentary. Yet the story about several years from the life of a simple country boy looking for his roots adopts almost epic forms.
Er Dong lives alone with his mother in a small village and will come to no good. At the end of his tether, his mother takes him to a Christian school in the hope that here Er Dong will find rules, order and God and will also hopefully learn a trade. But he only finds a girlfriend, Chang’e. They are sent down from school and start an uncertain life together. It turns out to be difficult to earn your living. Then the past also starts playing up: who was Er Dong's father?
The film Er Dong, is supported by the Hubert Bals Fund is regarded by some as the best narrative ‘indie’ of the year. The film shows how independent directors with little money, simple means and an amateur cast but with a maximum of carefully chosen everyday details and sets can examine life in today's China. (GT)