Director: Li Yang
Blind Shaft is a modern fable of greed, murder and innocence set in the illegal coal mines of northern China. Two greedy men plot the murder of a young man in one such poorly-equipped mine.
They cause the mine to collapse, escape and then feign indignation at the loss of their brother. They extort money from the mine owner, threatening to inform the authorities of the 'accident' should he not pay up.
Soon, they discover another potential victim, a young boy, whose father had also worked in the mine but had never returned home. But the boy's innocence creates tension and unexpected twists in the murderous mineworkers' scheme.
Li Yang (based on the book Shenmu by Liu Yongchong)
Li Yang and Karl Riedl
Bronze Age Films Co. Ltd.
Li Yixiang, Wang Shuangbao, Wang Baoqiang, Song Jinming, Tang Zhaoyang, Yuan Fengming, Xiao Hong
35mm / colour / 92 mins.
Born into a family of actors in 1959, Li Yang grew up in the theatre and was an actor at the Beijing Youth Theatre from 1978 to 85. He studied direction at the Beijing Television Institute in 1985-87, then German language and literature in Berlin and Munich.
He made three documentaries in Germany before trying his hand at feature films. Blind Shaft is his debut work. It won the Silver Bear for Best Artistic Contribution and Screenwriting and Directing at the Berlin Film Festival 2003 and other major awards at Deauville, Hong Kong, Buenos Aires and Tribeca.