Italian documentary-maker Andrea Segre’s impressive first drama finds a fresh angle on the travails of dispossessed immigrants. It charts the bond between a hardworking Chinese bartender in Venice who’s in hock to the triads and one of her regulars, a grizzly expat from former Yugoslavia. The storyline is not unfamiliar, as single mother Shun Li finds herself trapped by circumstances and longing to be reunited with her son, while ‘the poet’, a codger-ish fisherman with a penchant for off-the-cuff couplets, finds common ground in her insistence on sustaining cultural links with her homeland. The little conflict there is arises from the bristling prejudices of his boozy pals, but it’s the sense of place which knits it all together. Segre’s film captures the misty elision of land and sea in the Veneto lagoon and how it perfectly expresses the characters’ yearning placelessness. The mood is so potent, we can’t help but share something of their need to belong.
Shun Li and the Poet
|Release date:||Friday June 21 2013|
Cast and crew