80 minutes – Thriller
Festival release date: February 12, 2016 (Berlin)
Release date: November 30, 2016 (USA)
Distributor: Zeitgeist Films
Old Stone, a China-Canada co-production, focuses on a Chinese taxi driver Lao Shi (Chen Gang), who finds himself plunged into a Kafkaesque nightmare where no good deed goes unpunished. He’s on the streets every day working for his family’s basic economic survival. One day his arm is grabbed by a drunken passenger causing him to swerve and accidentally hit a motorcyclist. Lao decides that the ambulance is taking too long and drives the injured man to the hospital himself, where he discovers he is now legally responsible for the medical bills. Faced with financial ruin, Lao Shi (the film’s alternate title) is forced to embrace retribution as his only possible escape. Beginning as a gritty social-realist drama before u-turning into a blood drenched noir, the feature debut of director and screenwriter Johnny Ma had its North American premiere in 2016 at TIFF in the Discovery Programme and was awarded the City of Toronto Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film.