Take A Harrowing Ride On Bus 44 (2001)

bus-poster-thumb2Bus 44 is a Chinese Short film that was written, produced, and directed by Dayyan Eng. It stars Gong Beibi and Wu Chao.

Released to the festival circuit back in 2001, this unfortunately little-seen short does everything a film needs to do in under twelve minutes. It sets up its characters and situation well, it puts them into a very intense and harrowing situation, and it provides a satisfying (if perhaps a bit predictable) conclusion. It also won a number of awards back in its day, including a Special Jury Award at the 2001 Venice Film Festival, a Jury Honorable Mention at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival, and the Grand Jury Award at the 2002 Florida Film Festival.The director of the film, Dayan Eng has said about it

I have always been interested in social psychology and wanted to do a film about how people react under certain stressful circumstances. The story attracts me not only because it has an interesting plot with a twist, but mostly because the underlying theme is even more haunting than the events that take place. I intentionally made this film with a certain ambiguity of time and place — this story could have taken place anywhere in the world. Making films about people and human nature attracts me because I feel that people around the world have much more in common than they do differences. “Bus 44” carries a universal theme that travels across all boundaries and societies, trespassing the dark side and bright side of human behavior.

Fair warning: the film is not easy viewing (as I mentioned above, it is quite harrowing and intense) and is definitely NSFW, however, for those of you willing to give it a try, I do think you’ll find it well worth the time invested.

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