The semi-annual film festival Asian Pop-Up Cinema showcased a Chinese work on Wednesday depicting the trials and tribulations of a migrant family in modern China directly impacted by the country's massive transformations over the past four decades.
"Walking Past the Future", screened at the AMC River East 21 theater, is a narrative feature that tells the story of Yang Yaoting and her family.
When both of her parents are laid off from their jobs in Shenzhen, the family returns to their village in Gansu, only to find that life has drastically changed and they are no longer fit to work in the field.
Determined to provide her ailing parents with a home in the city, Yaoting returns to Shenzhen to participate in high-risk medical tests, leading to more tragic consequences.
Director Li Ruijun and producer Zhang Min attended the screening.
"It's been 40 years since China's economic reforms," Li said in an interview with Xinhua. "The first group of migrant workers is reaching their 60s, and their children, born in cities yet having no urban residential registration, face many challenges."
Li said this group of people has exceeded over 280 million in China, whose lives he felt obligated to present on the large screen.
The film was the only Chinese film selected in the "Un Certain Regard" (a certain perspective) section of the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.
Asian Pop-Up Cinema's film series, now in its seventh season, include 15 feature-length narrative and documentary films from across Asia.
"We have more filmmakers and actors attending this season's screenings than ever before," said Sophia Wong Boccio, founder and executive-artistic director of Asian Pop-Up Cinema.
"Every story has its own power," Boccio continued. "The mix of films has effectively touched the audience one way or another."
The festival runs through Nov. 14, with a closing night film featuring "One Cut of the Dead," a Japanese film by director Shinichiro Ueda.