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RETURN TO DUST [China], Thursday 23 March, 8pm

By December 7, 2022August 11th, 2023archive, Season 24 films




“Hit Chinese film Return to Dust has vanished from China’s cinemas”

Return to Dust,  a low-budget art-house Chinese film became a deeply unlikely commercial smash, topping the Chinese box office ahead of various blockbusters. But then there would also be the equally strange, far sadder tale of how it vanished from cinemas. Seemingly banned merely for spotlighting the hard lives of the rural poor, the sleeper hit appears a snapshot of an airless political climate — and a symbol of the vulnerability of art…

Two weeks after becoming the most popular movie in China, Return to Dust disappeared without warning from cinemas across the country. The streaming sites on which it had also been released no longer carried it, either…

No explanation was provided. Indeed, it has never been officially confirmed that the film was banned. But ever since it has remained impossible to see legally in China. – Financial Times

Read The Guardian article about censorship accusations.

Humble, unassuming Ma and timid Cao have been cast off by their families and forced into an arranged marriage. They have to combine their strength and build a home to survive. In the face of much adversity, an unexpected bond begins to blossom, as both Ma and Cao, uniting with Earth’s cycles, create a haven for themselves in which they can thrive. A story about eternal love, against the odds.

Return to Dust is many things — a vivid portrait of China’s hardscrabble rural north-west, an unexpected victim of state censorship — but it is first and last a love story. – Financial Times

It’s a gorgeous, quietly affecting film that finds an unassuming beauty in this simple life in rural China, but which doesn’t shy away from the extreme hardships faced by the very poorest. – The Observer

Return To Dust isn’t always an easy watch, but it’s a thought-provoking one with beautifully-judged performances that radiate warmth and encourage empathy. – Deadline Hollywood

100% Rotten Tomatoes

  • Return to Dust
  • China, 2022 | Language: Chinese| 131 minutes | Cert: Club
  • Director: Li Ruijun
  • Cast: Wu Renlin, Hai Qing, Yang Guangrui
  • Foreign language films are subtitled.  Cert: CLUB for over 18s.
  • Tickets: €8.50/€7 concession
  • Cork Cine Club is absorbing cost of all booking fees.
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  • Pay at the door by card or cash. Exact change appreciated.