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Poster for Return to Dust (2023)
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Return to Dust (2023)

Opens on August 25

Director: Li Ruijun Run Time: 131 min. Rating: NR Release Year: 2022

Starring: Cailan Wang, Dengfeng Zhao, Hai Qing, Wu Renlin, Yang Guangrui

Country: China
Language: Mandarin with English subtitles

About the film:

World Premiere, 2022 Berlin Film Festival
Official Selection, 2022 Toronto Film Festival

In rural Gaotai county, two lonely, middle-aged outcasts are pushed into an arranged marriage by their families. Ma is a humble farmer with little to offer his timid and sickly wife, Cao, except for a small abandoned house on a barren patch of land. From just a few seeds, their newly planted crops take root and flourish; and similarly, an unexpected bond between the two starts to blossom. As seasons pass their dedication to each other grows stronger, but change and adversity soon threaten the idyllic existence they share.

“A later-life love story of the gentlest kind… absorbing, beautifully framed drama”

—Jessica Kiang, Variety

A tender tale about the transformative nature of love from acclaimed director Li Ruijun, Return to Dust (2023) became a surprise box office hit in China before being unceremoniously removed from all Chinese cinemas with no explanation from the government.

About the filmmaker:

Li Ruijun is an acclaimed Chinese art house film director and screenwriter dedicated to capturing the disappearing landscapes and shifting relationships in rural China. His films have been selected for festivals including Venice, Cannes, Berlin, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. Often filming in his rural hometown of Gaotai in Gansu Province, his six feature films are Summer Solstice (2007), The Old Donkey (2010), Fly with the Crane (2012), River Road (2014), Walking Past the Future (2017), and Return to Dust (2023). He began studying painting and music at the age of 14. In 2003, he graduated from the Management Institute of the China National Ministry of Radio, Film and Television.

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