Return to Dust

Ruijun Li, China, 2022

Return to Dust

Ruijun LiChina – 2022

Ma and Guiying lead lives that are similarly sheltered and difficult. He is a reticent farmer, the last of his family to remain unmarried; she is disabled and infertile, and long past what is considered to be marrying age in rural China. Their arranged marriage, uniting two people who are accustomed to isolation and humiliation, would appear to force them into a relationship that will make life worse for both of them. But instead, they seize the opportunity to rise above themselves and discover their shared destiny. They learn how to become close companions, how to speak up, how to care for each other and even how to smile. All this in spite of the hard work required of them by their quintessential bond with the land and the trials that await them on their common path. Against a backdrop of topics such as the exploitation of farm workers, forced urbanisation, the uprooting of traditions and poverty, Li Ruijun – who returns to his birthplace of Gaotai, in the northern province of Gansu – prioritises the characters’ worldview, with its inherent naivety and fragility, through an act of trust and love that infuses the film with subtle tenderness and profound humanity.

Original Title Return to Dust
German Title Return to Dust
French Title Le retour des hirondelles
Other Titles Return to Dust - Yin Ru Chen Yan
Directed by Ruijun Li
Country China
Available Formats
Screenplay Li Ruijun
Film Editing Li Ruijun
Soundtrack Peyman Yazdanian
Cinematography Wang Weihua
Sound Wang Changrui
Décors Li Ruijun, Han Dahai
Costumes Wu Jingyin
Production Hucheng No.7 Films - Zhang Min, Li Yan
Runtime 133 Min.
Language Chinesisch (Gansu)/d/f
Wu Renlin Youtie Ma
Hai Qing Guiying Cao

«Nicht bloss beeindruckend, sondern sehr nahe jenem Bereich, wo Begriffe wie ‹Meisterwerk› oder ‹filmische Offenbarung› angemessen klingen. – Eine tief berührende Parabel über die Arbeit am eigenen Glück.» Die Wochenzeitung WoZ, Dominic Schmid

«Li Ruijun entwirft mit diesem elegischen Drama eine feine und anrührende Parabel über die menschliche Natur. [...] Darüber hinaus geht es im Film um eine singuläre Liebesgeschichte, die so zärtlich und natürlich wirkt, wie sie schon lange nicht mehr erzählt wurde.» Outnow, Teresa Vena

«Eine zarte Liebesgeschichte zwischen zwei Aussenseitern.» Radio RBB

«Es gibt Filme, die wie die chinesische Bau­ern­tra­gö­die Return to Dust auf den ersten Blick unpolitisch wirken, aber im Nachhinein in ihrer abgründigen Düsternis wie ei­ne ästhetische Widerstandsgeste erscheinen.» Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Andreas Kilb


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