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Return to Dust

“An absorbing, beautifully framed drama”

– Variety

“A humanistic metaphor for a vanishing world seen through the prism of a vulnerable couple

cruelly written off by their families”

- The Hollywood Reporter


Doors Open: 20:00
Show Starts: 20:30

In the rural Gansu region of China, Ma and Cao are two people seen only as inconveniences by their respective families. They are cast off and forced into an arranged marriage. Living a simple but challenging farming life, the couple gradually fall in love. Together, they decide to build their own house. However, a state-ordered demolition process threatens their very way of life.

The latest film from director Li Ruijun is a patient, tender love story about one couple’s fight for survival. Elegantly shot and beautifully acted, it shows a side of Chinese society rarely seen on cinema screens. It proved a surprise commercial hit in China, before being targeted by local censors.

Return to Dust is a thought provoking and powerful tale that does not shy away from portraying the harsh reality of life in rural China. This is a story of resilience, affection, determination and is certainly not one to be missed!   


Release background:

While Return to Dust is a small, arthouse film, it proved a surprise commercial success in its native China on release topping the box office in early September 2022, two months after its initial release. It won praise for its honest, grounded portrayal of rural China and the people living there.


However, the film then became a target for local censors, with authorities changing the film’s ending in mid-September. The film was subsequently pulled entirely from Chinese cinema screens and streaming services by the end of September, and discussion of the film was heavily censored on social media sites.


The original version of the film will be available to Irish audiences.


Festivals & Awards:

Berlin International Film Festival, 2022

Edinburgh International Film Festival, 2022

Toronto Film Festival, 2022

Winner - Audience Award - Udine Far East Film Festival, 2022


Director: Li Ruijun

Cast: Wu Renlin, Hai Qing, Yang Guangrui

Film Info: 131 mins | Language: Mandarin | 12A

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