Shun Li and the Poet

Andrea Segre

Italy, France2012100 MinItalian, Mandarin

Subtitles: BG, HR, CS, DA, NL, EN, ET, FI, FR, GD, DE, EL, HU, IT, LV, LT, MT, PL, PT, RO, SK, ES, SL, SV

Not available


A moving and elegiac portrait of dispossessed souls.

- The Guardian -

Shun Li and the Poet

(Io Sono Li)

Shun Li works in a textile factory in the outskirts of Rome, in order to get her papers and enable her eight-year-old son to come to Italy. She is suddenly transferred to Chioggia, a small city-island in the Veneto lagoon, to work as a bartender in a pub. Bepi, a Slavic fisherman, nicknamed the Poet by his friends, has been a regular at that little pub for years. The friendship between Shun Li and Bepi upsets both the Chinese and local communities, who interfere with this new voyage, which they are perhaps simply too afraid of.

Winner of the European Parliament's LUX Prize

Venice Days

Satyajit Ray Prize - BFI London Film Festival

Best Actress (Zhao Tao) - David di Donatello Awards

This film is presented to you in partnership with the European Parliament's LUX Film Prize.

  • Starring:  Zhao Tao, Rade Serbedzija, Marco Paolini, Roberto Citran, Giuseppe Battiston
  • Production:  Jolefilm / Aeternam Films / Rai Cinema / ARTE / Haut et Court

Beautifully interpreted by Zhao Tao, the muse of Jia Zhange, and the Croatian actor Rade Serbedzija, remembered in EYES WIDE SHUT by Stanley Kubrick, SHUN LI AND THE POET is a social melodrama which prevails off the beaten track of Italian contemporary cinema. The solitude of a young Chinese woman lost on an island of the Venitian lagoon inspired Andre Segre to tell a beautiful love story and an unexpected one, far from over simplifying immigration and racism. Beyond questions of identity and alienation, it is first and foremost the emotions of the characters that interest the filmmaker.

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Andrea Segre

Andrea Segre was born in Dolo, Venice, in 1976. After working in television, he turned his attention to documentary, focusing on social and geopolitical aspects of Italy and the themes of immigration in Europe. Recent documentaries include: IL SANGUE VERDE (2010), MARE CHIUSO (2012) and INDEBITO (2013). In 2010, he directed his first full-length fiction film, SHUN LI AND THE POET, presented at numerous international festivals and winner of many awards, including the European Parliament's LUX Prize in 2012, and distributed in over thirty countries. His latest feature The Order of Things (2017) premiered in Venice.

Cinema has the capacity of focusing people’s attention on individual lives, using these individual histories as metaphors for a bigger phenomenon. Cinema can help politics to fly away from this risk, which is not only a risk for professional politics, but also for the relationship between politics and society, human beings.

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