Directed by Li Ruijun, the 131-minute film follows two marginalized individuals who have been cast off by their families and communities.
Set a decade ago in Northwest China, specifically the countryside of Gansu province, the film follows protagonists who are in the process of getting into an arranged marriage and making a life together.
Return to Dust is indeed down-to-earth while also providing perspective on the dignity of man, even among those who’ve been humiliated and hurt.
It also portrays the realistic aesthetics of labor, which are rarely found in modern Chinese films, and the natural environment, emotionally linking us to China’s disappearing landscapes.
The film hit Chinese cinemas on July 8, becoming the most talked-about arthouse film of the year. On Douban, netizens have given the film a high rating of 8.4/10.