16/05/2009 03:19

Jalainur

China, 2008, 92 min.
Director: Zhao Ye
Cast: Liu Yuansheng, Li Zhizhong
Awards: FIPRESCI Prize, Pusan International Film Festival, 2008.
Selection: EXIT POINT

At Film and Media Festival Cinema City, as a part of Exit Point selection, we will have an opportunity to see a new creation by a young Chinese director Zhao Ye, called Jalainur.

The two protagonists of this film are Old Zhu, a steam train driver, and his apprentice, Li Zhizhong, a train signalman. They work very closely together, so they have become inseparable friends. However, one day Zhizhong finds that his old friend is not driving the train and is not at the colliery where he has worked for over 30 years. It turns out that Old Zhu has decided to retire a few weeks early and has just left to be with his daughter, who lives with her husband near the Russian border. Zhizhong gets on the road and starts to follow his friend. Old Zhu tries to convince him to return home, but in fact, he doesn't want Zhizhong to leave him. After they arrive to Old Zhu's daughter and son-in-law, Zhizhong decides to leave his long-standing friend and continues to wander alone by the border, missing the train by which he was supposed to return home.

The entire idea of the film is based in an old Chinese saying which says: Although I could accompany you for thousand of miles, we have to say each other farewell at the end.

Jalainur is a Mongolian word which means "ocean as lake", but actually is a name of a mine in a city called Manzhouli, which is situated in northern China near Russian border. The mine exists over a hundred years. In more than a century of mineral resources exploitation, a huge mineshaft has been created, where trains would roar day by day. Today, Jalainur mineshaft is almost empty, trains could not be heard any more, and most miners, due to crisis, are left unemployed.