44rd edition 21 January - 1 February 2015

Poor FolkBF-2013 
Qiong Ren, Liu Lian, Ma Yao, Tou Du Ke

<strong>Watch trailer</strong>

A gangster film that doesn’t look or feel like one, but like life itself. At least, life in the lawless border area between Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand. A lively trade in drugs, young girls and other illegal things. With plenty of dreams and few winners.

Midi Z is one of the most promising talents in Asian cinema. A year ago, he presented Return to Burma, a tragicomic film about a poverty-stricken country where everything revolves around money.
Poor Folk embroiders forth on this theme. The sister of protagonist A-Hong falls into the hands of human traffickers. He travels to Bangkok and starts life as a hustler. With other illegal Burmese, he rips off Chinese tourists and sells raw materials for amphetamines to heavily-armed gangsters. Once he earns enough money to buy his sister free, the trail leading to the traffickers has gone cold. Then he comes into contact with San Mei, a prostitute who mediates for the crooks in exchange for a promised residence permit.
Poor Folk has all the ingredients for a crime film, but is primarily about uprooting and alienation. In the lengthy wide-angle shots, sadness and unexpected humour always simmer under the surface.

Programmer Note by Gertjan Zuilhof:

The films by Midi Z are realistic. They are set in a documentary space, populated with real people. People with experiences and stories. A farmer is not just any farmer, but comes from a specific village and speaks the relevant dialect. Even if he has later become a smuggler or a trader in drugs or people, he still speaks the language. Rooted in the soil where he comes from. Midi Z bases his film stories on real stories. On things he has been through or has heard from friends. The girl traded in the film is a real girl. The filmmaker heard her story from her brother and told it as truly as he could.
When Midi Z told me about his financial problems with completing his film, I was slightly surprised. The greatest obstacle turned out to be the costs for a scene with a crashed plane for which the SFX (special effects) costs were fairly high. SFX in a hyperrealistic film? This filmmaker is apparently not dogmatically realistic. I suggested he could leave the smoking aeroplane off-screen, but for him it was really necessary. You saw his eyes begin to glisten the way the eyes of the maker of a major action film would.
The aircraft is in the film. The trailer even opens with it.
Midi Z makes small, very realistic films, but I think if he gets the chance he will also try a different genre. This guy is a real filmmaker.

Comments
Een ijzersterke film. Ben net in ZO Azië geweest en het sprak mij geweldig aan hoe iedereen in de film aan het rommelen en sjoemelen is. Op geen enkele manier heb je de indruk dat er "gespeeld" wordt. Ook het feit dat er op een sobere manier met één camera gefilmd spreekt mij aan. De critic's talk na afloop van de woensdag 30-1 vertoning maakte nog veel extra duidelijk. Op facebook nog wat foto's en review:
http://www.facebook.com/jaap.verseput/posts/554455134573516
Webreview from Giacomo de Curacao on 1 February 2013 13:06
Geen gemakkelijke film en zeker niet voor iedereen maar zeer de moeite waard. De eerste 90 minuten zien we een aantal personages de meest willekeurige, nietszeggende gesprekjes met elkaar voeren. Ze eten wat, doen verder niet veel. Niet eenvoudig uit te zitten dit, gezien ook het grote aantal weglopers. In het laatste deel wordt meer duidelijk waar ze zich ook mee bezig houden, criminaliteit en meer in het bijzonder mensenhandel. De 90 minuten nietszeggendheid blijkt dan nodig te zijn geweest om wat er daarna komt echt aan te laten komen. Deze mensen zijn totaal vervreemd van de wereld, laten zich met de meest vreselijke dingen in en het ergste nog, we hebben dan al gezien dat het ze helemaal niets meer doet.
Webreview from MSA on 31 January 2013 19:10
Taiwan, Myanmar 2012
DirectorMidi Z
ProducerMidi Z
 Patrick Mao Huang
 Seashore Image Production
 Flash Forward Entertainment
SalesFlash Forward Entertainment
ScenarioMidi Z
CastWang Shin-hong
 Wu Ke-xi
 Zhao De-fu
 Zheng Meng-lan
PhotographyMidi Z
EditorMidi Z, Lin Sheng-wen
Sound designChou Chen
MusicSonic Deadhorse
Length105'
Film formatDCP
Themes
2013 Bright Future European premiere
12345 2 votes