Let me state upfront that I am a long-time fan of the Film Movement library of indie and foreign movies, so much so that I finally gave in and started a subscription to their DVD of the Month club earlier this year. This movie is the November, 2012 release in that on-going series.
"Shun Li and the Poet" (2011 release from Italy; original title "Io sono Li"; 98 min.) brings the story of Shun Li, a migrant laborer from China now working in textiles in Rome, away from her family, most importantly her 8 yr. old son. One day, Li is informed by her (Chinese) superiors (for whom Li is just a pawn in a bigger game of money-making) that she is being transferred to Chioggia, a lagoon village near Venice, to run a cafe/pub they have just bought. The place is mostly frequented by local fishermen, among them being Bepi, himself an immigrant 30 years earlier from Yugoslavia. Li and Bepi strike a friendship, and not long after, both the local fishermen and Li's Chinese superiors do not like what is happening. Will Li get reunited with her young son? Will Bepi and Li overcome the resitance around them? To tell you more would ruin your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of ocmments: yes, the movie is a relationship study, and a very rich one, but the movie also brings us a study of how 2 cultures interact, seemingly as different as they are (or are they?). Beware, this is not a movie for anyone in a hurry, as the pace is slow, and frankly exquisite at that, I loved it. The scenery of the movie, set nearby Venice, is eye-candy throughout. Kudos to the lead actors, as they bring the characters of Li and Bepi just beautifully. Kudos also to the Itlaian director Andrea Segre, who brings this tale in an original and refreshing way. This is MILES away from your standard Hollywood fare. If you are in the mood for a quality foreign movie, you cannot go wrong with this. Bottom line: "Shun Li and the Poet" is another strong addition to the rich and ever-growing library of Film Movement DVDs. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!