OLD STONE (LAO SHI)
Timid and unassuming, cab driver Lao Shi (Chen Gang) finds his quiet workaday life turned inside out after helping an accident victim to the hospital. His decency is rewarded with a nightmarish descent into an unforgiving bureaucratic machine and the scorn of a deeply cynical culture where it's more cost effective for victims to die than survive. Desperately holding onto the last shreds of his humanity as his world unravels, Lao plots a last-ditch effort to regain his life — leading to a twisty, hard-to-forget climax. Employing the style of classic neorealism before brilliantly transitioning into a razor-sharp thriller, this debut from writer-director Johnny Ma is at once a finely drawn character piece and a pointed social critique. With sly humor and a willingness to challenge his audience, Ma has crafted a sharp, devastating rejoinder to the question of whether simple human decency has a place in the new China. — Cedar Sherbert
Johnny Ma was born in Shanghai and immigrated to Toronto at the age of 10. He is a graduate of Columbia University's MFA program in Screenwriting/Directing. OLD STONE, his feature debut, premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival.