Jan 23, 2022
A look into the life of a Chinese taxi driver in the United States as he deals with one difficult passenger after another.
It is the coronavirus pandemic and Zhang (Chang) has moved from China to the U.S. and is now working as a taxi driver. He provides rides to people who are often rude, racist and disrespectful towards him and he listens to voice messages from his family back in Wuhan. COVID-19 seems to be bringing hostility towards him because of his Chinese nationality and he does his best to cope.
This poignant short drama was executive produced by Academy Award-winning producer Jonathan Sanger and it focuses on an individual who has found himself in a society that is hostile towards him and ignores him and as a result, he has become an outcast and feels lonely and isolated. The audience observes him as he interacts with various passengers that include two young women who are very rude to him, a woman with a baby who ignores him and a young man who refuses to get into the taxi once he realises that Zhang is Chinese. The viewer cannot help but feel sorry for the hero because he comes across as a good-hearted person who does his best to be polite and helpful and all he appears to get in return is the cold shoulder. People's indifference is also shown as Zhang always wears a mask while he drives passengers to their destination, while none of them ever wear one.
Although poor Zhang constantly has to deal with bad behaviour and racism, there is temporary solace when he interacts with a kind priest but at the same time he also confesses that he is in a very bad emotional state. This scene is rather dramatic and offers a rather informative insight into the mind of the protagonist.
The acting is very good and all the people playing supporting characters do a great job. Chang is rather convincing as a good individual, who has a heart condition and misses his family and is brought to his knees by cruelty and indifference. His emotional performance makes the audience feel for him.
Ji directs very well and the script contains well-written dialogue. Stefan Nachmann provides beautiful cinematography.
This is a moving and downbeat story about a person who are in a place where they are suffering due the behaviour of the people around them. The narrative explores themes of loneliness, sadness and indifference and suggests how people's perspective towards the Chinese has changed due to the pandemic. It is a dramatic and emotional journey and the ending is heartbreaking.