Directed by: Charles Xiuzhi Dong
Written by: Charles Xiuzhi Dong
Starring: Yiyi Sun, Youfeng Zhang
Sometimes people do unacceptable things in order to help the ones they love.
Su Min (Sun) is a little girl in China, who dreams of going to school. She lives with her mother (Zhang), a single parent, in relative poverty. Her mother makes ends meet by picking up rubbish and working as a cleaner at a school. Su Min wants to go to that same school, but they are unable to afford the fees. Eventually her mother decides to steal money from the school in order to pay for her daughter to attend classes. A decision that ends up having devastating consequences.
Charles Xiuzhi Dong's emotional drama won the Best Short Award at the Short Shorts Film Festival and Asia, in Japan. It is a hard-hitting look at the lives of underprivileged people. It explores themes of poverty, child isolation, love, family and how far one is willing to go to make things better for others.
Sun and Zhang deliver convincing and touching performances as a child and her mother, who are living hard lives. It is clear that they care deeply for one another and want each other to be happy.
The film does not condone the mother's illegal actions, for it is those actions that lead to the story's tragic ending. It makes it clear that people must stay on the right path, no matter what. That crime does not pay. It also makes a point that parents should be careful not to mislead their children. That they should choose wisely what they say to them, what they want to teach them.
Dong has done a fantastic job. The direction is outstanding, with many wonderful shots, but the ones that stand out the most are the establishing shots. This is a project that had a great deal of creativity and effort put into it.
After Class is a tragic tale that looks into the hardships of life. Its main message is that no matter how much one is struggling with their life, they must never go down the wrong path.