River Road

BBFC RatingRiver Road

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CertificateNot Rated
DirectorLi Ruijun
LanguageMandarin, Turkish
Running Time1HR 43MINS
Extra InfoSubtitled / 15+
SeasonChinese Cinema Season

Li Ruijun’s fourth feature is a masterfully lensed nomadic road movie set in his dusty native province of Gansu, in Northwestern China.

Bartel and Adikeer, two Yugur ethnic minority brothers, venture out with their two-humped camels to join their herdsman father, following the death of their grandfather. During the long trek, following the path of a dried-up river bed, the children’s conflicts play out while the heartbreaking desertification of the Yugur grazing lands—signifying the end of a traditional way of life—serves as the backdrop.

More than just a tale of stubborn figures pitted against an unforgiving landscape, Li’s film earns its emotional payoff thanks to the incredible performances of the young leads. Featuring the sand-blown splendor of infinitely sprawling vistas, ghost towns, and touches of the fantastic, River Road is an absolute masterpiece of Chinese filmmaking. 

This season of Chinese films is part of the Belfast Film Festival Young Programmers project in association with QFT and supported by Film Hub NI. Peize Li, a former student of Queen's University, has selected the films based on the theme of minority groups in China and the diversity of Chinese cinema.

This film will play without ads and trailers and, as a result, will start promptly at the advertised time.