Shun Li is a Chinese migrant who works in a garment factory on the outskirts of Rome in order to get her papers and enable her eight-year-old son to come to Italy. One day she is suddenly transferred to Chioggia, a fishing community situated on a small island at the southern entrance to the Lagoon about 25 km south of Venice to work behind the bar in a osteria. Its there she strikes up a platonic friendship with one of the regulars Bepi, an older fisherman originally from Yugoslavia and nicknamed “the Poet” by his friends. It’s a relationship that attracts hostile gossip from both the Chinese and the Chioggian communities.
|Bepi the Poet.|
As a director of documentary cinema that deal’s with the themes of migration to Europe and the social and geographic of the Veneto area of North Eastern Italy which includes the city of Venice, Andrea Segre is more than qualified to direct his debut feature film Shun Li and the Poet (2013) a movie which involves both these subjects.
A deeply touching story based squarely in the present, about relationship’s between individual’s and their cultural identity, involving two outsiders who will never really fit into this village community which is home to fisherman, a place tourists rarely visit and where sea front café’s are flooded on occasions. An impressive award-winning movie with two main characters that are beautifully underplayed by Chinese actress Zhao Tao and Rade Sherbedgia, an actor from former Yugoslavia, who join with a great supporting cast, both professional and non-professional from Chioggia. Coupled with some fine cinematography from DOP Luca Bigazzi It brought to mind the feel and sensitivity of Le Havre (2011). This documentary style feature film has a touch of fantasy but is both moving and credible.