Cast: Carmen Soup, Huang Yao, Ni Hongjie, Sunny Sun
SDSU Confucius Institute NETPAC Award honorable mention, 2018 Toronto International Film Festival
Best Film, Best Actress, Fei Mu Awards, 2018 Pingyao International Film Festival
Official Selection, 2019 Berlin International Film Festival
Like countless other Chinese nationals, the teenage Peipei crosses the border from Shenzhen to Hong Kong every day, in her case to attend high school close to where her dad works a night shift. There, she dreams of escape to Japan, a vacation she can’t afford with her waitressing wages or the petty cash she collects hawking black-market goods. Upon meeting her best friend’s boyfriend, Peipei is introduced to the world of cross-border smuggling, a scene that’s high-energy and run by an underworld queen. Most of all, it’s a scene that needs somebody exactly like her: an innocent with a school uniform who can move product from Hong Kong to Shenzhen, where an iPhone is worth a lot more to China’s growing upper class.
And so Peipei steps across. From a capitalist port city to a post-socialist pressure cooker. From a haven of youthful play to the big leagues of criminality. Director Bai Xue, one of China’s most exciting new genre filmmakers, captures Peipei’s leap into adulthood with the exhilaration and stakes of a gambling movie. Her directorial flair – freeze-frames, musical rushes – are a cinematic analogue to Peipei’s intrepidness. In the boys’ worlds of filmmaking and petty crime, there’s no point in not risking it all. –Brian Hu