Grain in Ear

A patient Korean Chinese kimchee peddler discovers that she does have her limits in Zhang Lu's intricately orchestrated minimalist drama, a prizewinner at Cannes and Pesaro and recipient of the Pusan Film Festival's New Currents Award for Best Film. Soon-hee is a single mother who illegally sells pickled vegetables along out-of-the-way roads. Fending off the advances of various lechers more interested in the things she's not selling, she also cares for her little boy, who spends his days playing games with his school-aged friends and his neighbors, four young Chinese prostitutes. Grain in Ear “finds Zhang Lu entering the territory Fassbinder once made his own: melodrama with a social conscience, executed with slightly shell-shocked restraint,” wrote Tony Rayns for the Vancouver International Film Festival. “This is a social-realist fable which illuminates the gap between haves and have-nots in ways that Marx never dreamed of.”

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