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Summary

Writer-director Zhang Lu’s fascinating window into a rarely seen corner of rural China revolves around 12-year-old Chang-ho, living with his grandfather and mute sister along the frozen river-border with North Korea. Although fraught with unemployment and other tensions, his community seems sympathetic toward the Korean refugees fleeing famine and misery; Chang-ho even bonds over soccer with one young border-crosser who comes scavenging for food for a sibling. But he soon turns on his new friend as suspicions mount against the illegal immigrants and his sister reels from unexpected aggression, provoking a quandary over his loyalties in an exquisitely detailed story of compassion and strife across an uneasy geopolitical border.

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