Dandelion(“Tanpopo no saigetsu”)
JAPAN / 2003 / Chinese, Japanese / Color / Video / 60 min
Director: Ren Shujian
Photography: Shirosaka Yuichiro
Editing: Shirosaka Yuichiro, Nonokawa Yoshiko
Sound: Nonokawa Yoshiko
Executive Producer: Hara Kazuo
Producer: Moriyama Kenichi
Production Company, Source: Japan Academy of Moving Images
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A Chinese family from a poor rural village in Fujian Province continues to bring other family members to Japan via smuggling and bigamous marriages. Undeterred by the uncertainty of their status as illegal immigrants, they continue to send money to their extended family waiting back home. They experience sudden illness, arrests, and deception by Japanese. They manage to scrape by running a beauty parlor and an internet café, but language and visa problems make life difficult. At their ancestral home in China, their family waits for them with mixed feelings. The director, a student from China, offers us a glimpse of the unknown corners of the international city of Tokyo.
[Directors Statement] Dandelion portrays characters dealing with the clash between desire and reality. The film focuses on Chinese people who have come to Japan to work and send money home to relatives, hoping to help them achieve a better quality of life. Living illegally in Japan, however, these people have found that reality presents a formidable barrier to their aspirations.
I have two distinct sentiments regarding the people in the film. First of all, I sympathize with their having effectively thrown away their own freedom. At the same time, however, I can’t help but wonder whether there isn’t any other way for them to achieve their goals.
Throughout the course of learning about the plight of these workers, I was able to clearly see the problems associated with the issue of social welfare in China. Among China’s total population of 1.3 billion people, five hundred million are peasants with little income and no security whatsoever for their livelihoods. Given this reality, it is my sincere hope that China will begin to implement living conditions whereby its citizens may live comfortably and humanely, and not be forced into a situation whereby they must resort to living and working abroad illegally.
Beijing will host the Olympic Games in 2008, and Shanghai will be home to the World Expo in 2010, showing clearly that China’s economy is poised for continuing expansion. I thought it important to document the fact that the problems described above exist at the advent of the twenty-first century—which is, in essence, why I decided to make this film.
Born in 1975 in Nanjing, China. Entered the literature department at Nanjing University in 1993, and won the university’s prize for literary fiction writing in 1997. Entered the Japan Academy of Moving Images in 2000, and won the school’s fourteenth annual Imamura Shohei prize. Now in his first term of a doctoral course in cinema at Nihon University College of Art.
• New Asian Currents | Sand and Water | Wellspring | Three-Five People | Homesick | The Circle’s Corner | The Maze of Lanes | Nee Engey—Where Are You | NEW (IMPROVED) DELHI—Director’s Cut | A Night of Prophecy | 150 Seconds Ago | The Ballad of Life | Noah’s Ark | The Old Man of Hara | Dandelion | Hibakusha—At the End of the World | 3rd Vol.2—2 Light House | And Thereafter | Dust Buries Sabuk | Family Project: House of a Father | Edit | Gina Kim’s Video Diary | Ordo | Her and Him Van Leo | The Big Durian | Perpetual Motion | Debris | Hard Good Life | Nail | The Rhythm in Wulu Village | A Short Journey • Jurors | Kim Dong-won | Kawase Naomi • New Asian Currents Special | Part 1 | Part 2