Film review: Shun Li and the Poet starring Zhao Tao


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The Independent Culture

Andrea Segre's wispy drama of displacement is played so pianissimo you sometimes barely hear it, but it's worth straining an ear for.

Zhao Tao plays Chinese immigrant Shun Li, doomed to drudgery in a Venetian harbourside bar until her gangmaster will pay for her eight-year-old son to join her.

Her tentative bond with grizzled fisherman Bepi (Rade Serbedzija) rests on a shared love of poetry, but will it be enough to help surmount the racial prejudice lapping around them?

The film is notable for its portrait of Venice, not the city of tourist pleasures but a dank, misty port where the living is hard-won and the locals a coven of inveterate bigots.