Poor Folk

  • Mon Apr 16
Poor Folk

free admission

Midi Z
Shin-Hong Wang, Ke-Xi Wu, De-Fu Zhao

Poverty-stricken A-Hong and his teenage sister cross the Myanmar-Thailand border illegally in search of opportunity. However, the smugglers helping them cross the border sell A-Hong’s sister to human traffickers. A-Hong goes to Bangkok and works under a tour guide to free his sister, but when a flood devastates local tourism, he is forced to return to the border to smuggle raw materials for amphetamine production. San-Mei, the woman who takes A-Hong’s sister away, only works for the traffickers in exchange for a Taiwanese passport promised by the snakeheads. However, this promise turns out to be nothing but a pipe dream. With four interconnected stories, Poor Folk, which alludes to Dostoyevsky’s novel of the same name, vividly portrays the struggles of displaced Burmese people. Through Midi Z’s unflinching lens, an equal amount of hope and despair is captured non-judgmentally. The film also addresses Taiwan’s role as a beacon of hope for Southeast Asians who wish to lift themselves out of poverty, corresponding to the director’s personal story of leaving to study in Taiwan at a young age as his family’s last hope.

This screening series is presented by Comparative Cultures and Literature Forum and East Asian Program Graduate Students Steering Committee. Cosponsored by Southeast Asia Program, Taiwan Cinema Toolkit, Society for the Humanities, Department of Comparative Literature, Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, Department of International and Comparative Labor, Department of Labor Relations, Law, and History, Department of Government, China and Asia Pacific Studies Program, Department of Performing and Media Arts, Department of History of Art.

Ithaca premiere
DCP color
1 hour 45 minutes
release year/country
2012 Taiwan