Silent Mist

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    Silent Mist

    Directed by

    China, France


    100 min

    • Chinese


    Busan IFF

    In the darkness of a rainy spring day, an ominous blanket of fog falls upon a peaceful canal town in Southern China. Shadows scatter along the damp walls of the streets in the picturesque and seemingly tranquil village. An old traveling musician arrives in the village and wanders through the winding narrow paths with his old dog trailing closely behind. The crisp bells on its dog collar softly echo in the neighborhood.
    Soon after their arrival, mysterious incidents occur. A rapist lurks in the shadows of the night, hiding in the mist, searching for a prey. Schoolgirl Li is his first victim. She is stripped of all her dignity and both Li and her father have to endure the shame, the misery and the helplessness that ensues.
    Meanwhile, a young couple tries to make a living with their tiny street restaurant. While the rapist operates under the cover of the mist, a fat, wealthy and influential businessman openly pollutes their lives with fear and uncertainty. The villagers seem unable to cope with both the open and the hidden dangers they all face from their morally corrupted compatriots.
    While the villagers try to live their lives, the travelling musician is both a witness and a victim of the painful injustices bestowed upon the ordinary people.


    Labels & Line Ups


    Rice Zhang
    Roelof Jan Minneboo

    Director's Statement

    Silent Mist is loosely based on true events that happened in a small village on a waterfront town in China. The serial rapist in question was never caught and the incident was quickly glossed over. Through Silent Mist, I hope to portray China in an unconventional light by emphasizing some issues China is currently facing. It seems as if the newly-found freedom is predominantly used for individual gain. I view the rapes in Silent Mist as a symbol of this individual ‘freedom’ acquired at the cost of the innocent other. The main difference between Silent Mist and my previous films is that I will focus on more than one character. I will also apply genre-specific elements: Silent Mist will be a social drama with thriller elements. I will emphasize these elements by adding sequences from the rapist’s perspective.

    Festival Bookings


    Like the seeping fog that cloaks its setting in weary shades of grey, the film launches into its story quietly and gradually

    Sarah Ward, Screen Daily

    filmed with bleak naturalism and steeped in the thriller genre, Silent Mist immerses viewers in the day-to-day reality of modern-day Chinese society

    Sarah Ward, Screen Daily

    Miaoyan Zhang

    Miaoyan Zhang


    Born in Manchuria in 1964 and growing up during the Culture Revolution, Miaoyan Zhang barely had a chance to see movies. In the 90's he got an opportunity to study art at UC Berkeley which enabled him to watch foreign movies nonstop. Miaoyan started writing stories about contemporary China. None of them were published due to state censorship. In the summer of 2006 he borrowed money and spent four weeks making his first movie

    Selected Filmography