The Shaft

In a poor mining town in western China, the stories of a father and his two children intersect and intertwine, illuminating complicated relationships hidden beneath the community’s hardened exterior. Accused of an affair with her manager, the attractive daughter of the household finds herself spurned by her boyfriend and forced to accept an arranged marriage. Her brother dreams of being a singer, but after an unforeseen stint in prison, reluctantly heads into the mines like his father, who spends his days searching for the wife who left him many years ago. Writer-director Zhang Chi’s wise and poetic debut delicately expresses the turmoil of emotion and expectation wrought by a calloused and difficult existence.

"A superb debut, achingly gorgeous, this is a case of caged insiders yearning for the fresh air of free-range outsiders... Graceful camera movements and striking compositions offset the dungeon that controls their life." – indieWIRE

"The first feature from the young Chinese director Zhang Chi, The Shaft feels as though it were made by a very old soul. Tight and tender, this small family drama is so visually expressive that listening is always subordinate to looking." -New York Times

Runtime: 98 min. In Mandarin with English subtitles in. Watch teaser here.

This film is being co-presented by the Global Film Initiative and is part of the Global Lens collection. For more information, visit

Cost: FREE for Museum Members, $5 Non-members.

Sponsored by:
the Museum's Asian Arts Council

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July 2012
1 of 3
Film & Performance
July 18, 7pm
CF's Summer Film Series: Exit Through The Gift Shop