Greetings again from the darkness. You may have a child who doesn't "like" going to school. Or perhaps you, yourself, were one of those kids who frequently expressed displeasure at having to attend. Well 8-year old Su Min (Yiyi Sun) is not like that. In fact, as she peers through the schoolyard gates, she longs for the day she can be a student. Writer-director Charles Dong (his fifth short film) takes us to China, where sending your kid to school can be out of reach financially for many.
We first see young Su Min turning in recycled material and trash for cash that she takes to her mother (Youfeng Zhang). The two live in near-poverty as mom works as a janitor at the same school where Su Min visits her more fortunate friends. An accident occurs one day after the young girl sneaks into the school, and her yearning for learning sends her mother down a path where bad things happen.
The love of a parent knows no bounds, and the desire to provide the best for them is inherent in mothers - driving them to act of character at times. What also happens is that some young children are so eager to please their parents that they make decisions of which they are far too young to understand the consequences. This combination is on full display in Mr. Dong's 14 minute gem of a short film. Desperate times lead to desperate measures ... and often to tragic endings. This is terrific filmmaking and storytelling, with two believable performances by first time actors.
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