Dispiriting but realistic, Walking Past the Future unveils the sad reality of the China’s working class.
Yaoting (Yang Zishan)’s ageing parents lose their jobs in a factory in Shenzhen, so the family returns to their old village home in Gansu, only to learn everything has changed since they left 25 years ago.
The family has been away for too long to remember how to work the land successfully, so Yaoting returns to Shenzhen hoping to provide for them. But when she takes part in a series of high-risk medical trials to earn money, there are tragic consequences.
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To reflect the everyday struggles of the Chinese working class, the film progresses slowly with natural, beautiful cinematography.
But the real highlight is Yang’s performance. Through the nuances in her facial expressions, words, and demeanour, she conveys the hardship, perseverance and exhaustion of a woman desperate to improve her family’s situation.
The movie encourages you to think about the cost of your actions, and whether things like happiness and health are worth sacrificing, even if it’s for a higher purpose.
With its honest representation of the bitterness felt by, and societal problems faced by ordinary people, Walking Past the Future is a high-quality drama that captures the potential misfortunes of the mainland’s underprivileged.
Edited by Karly Cox