Italian Contemporary Film Festival 2013: Shun Li and the Poet (2011)
Documentary filmmaker Andrea Segre jumps from the real to fiction filmmaking with a touching portrait of dispossessed souls in Shun Li and the Poet (Io Sono Li). Despite a certain surface tranquility, this story of Venice emigrees ripples with tension, loss and longing.
In Shun Li and the Poet, Shun Li (Tao Zhao) is a Chinese bartender, slaving to pay off the debt she owes to Chinese gangs and bring her son to join her in Italy. Bepi (Rade Serbedzija) is a weary and sun-beaten Yugoslavian fisherman/poet who identifies with Shun Li’s isolation from and longing for her homeland. As this unlikely pair develops a surprising bond, hostilities erupt with Shun Li’s triad bosses, who have their own issues with cultural integration.
Shun Li and the Poet was filmed in the Venetian lagoon, where rising waters invade streets, businesses, and cafes. This is not the Venice of tourist postcards, but it is the Venice of my own personal imagination. That is, a Venice where the lines between land and sea and all but non-existent and everyday life is as complicated and beautiful as one of Bepi’s odes. Segre has made a magnificent and elegiac film with deft, sensitive character development and breathtaking visuals. It’s a true must see.
For more information about Shun Li and the Poet and the Italian Contemporary Film Festival, visit http://www.icff.ca.
Screening Times for Shun Li and the Poet
Monday, July 1 9:30 pm
TIFF Bell LightBox Cinema 2
Friday, July 5 7:30 pm Reception & 9:30 pm Movie
AMC Theatre, Cinema 24
A Gallery of Images from Shun Li and the Poet
Watch the Shun Li and the Poet Trailer