- To the Light -

China, USA / 2011 / 69 Minutes / Dir. Yuanchen Liu / Music by Edward Underhill

The bright lights of China’s booming economy are powered by the hard labor of its miners, who work deep in perilous coal shafts around the country. When a miner dies, his family receives a death pension greater than the amount of money he would have made in his lifetime, had he stayed alive. In rural China, where farming alone cannot sustain families, miners have no alternative but to risk their lives daily, descending hundreds of meters underground to dig out the black ore fueling China’s massive electrical grid.

To the Light delves into the hopes and struggles of the mining families in Sichuan, west China. The father of two, Luo originally became a coal miner to pay off the fine for violating China’s One Child Policy. Hui, son of another miner, prefers to be coal-train driver than take work far from home. For many families, coal mining has become a principal source of income and the only alternative to factory jobs in distant cities. But the mines are notoriously dangerous and thousands are killed every year. Going deep underground, the film exposes the perils faced by these miners, the slim rewards, and dire consequences when things go wrong. In spite of the risks, the working poor continue to flock to the mines, unable to heed the warning that earning a living wage may also mean dying for it.

*2011 Margaret Mead Filmmaker Award – 35th Margaret Mead Film Festival
影片講述川東大山裏的三個煤礦工人家庭的生活故事:由於農業難以維持生計,當地農民為了支撐家庭,為了後輩能夠擺脫大山和農村,只有冒著生命危險下井挖煤。災難一次次在他們身邊發生,但是為了生活,他們別無選擇。第一個家庭,礦工文子的父親過去正是因為挖煤染上肺病去世,但他依然在礦上工作,並允許自己的兒子輝在礦裏開機車,輝結婚不久並有一個未滿周歲的小女兒,這對年輕夫婦一直為去廣東打工爭論不休。妻子小芳希望輝早點離開煤礦,但他們的小女兒遲遲沒有斷奶,輝和小芳只有一等再等。第二個家庭,礦工羅五年前在一次冒頂事故中受傷高位截癱。由於治療花費巨大,大兒子辍學到廣東中山一家電池廠打工,雖然他想讀書做高級技工,但為了資助父母的生活和弟弟的學業,他只有一條路走下去。第三個家庭,宣在井下是砌磚工人,他曾在外打工,但為了照顧妻兒又回到家鄉,在附近的煤礦上班。他一直夢想靠自己在井下工作賺到的錢供兒子讀大學,還在讀高中的兒子在班上成績不錯,利用暑假到大城市廣州遊覽,但他發現自己絲毫不喜歡這個繁華的大都市,他覺得城市的一切離自己太遠。

*2011年第35屆瑪格麗特米德電影節最佳影人獎