Country: Canada, China
Language: Mandarin
Subtitles: English
Original Title: LAO SHI

Running Time: 80min
Film Year: 2016
Category: Film

The old stone of Johnny Ma’s debut feature is Lao Shi, an unassuming taxi driver whose display of basic compassion in an extreme situation prompts others to regard him as a “moral fossil.”

In a mid-sized Chinese city, a drunk, unruly passenger causes Lao Shi’s taxi to accidently hit a motorcyclist. Instead of speeding away, the doggedly decent Lao Shi leaps to the injured man’s aid, taking him to a nearby hospital when calls to emergency personnel prove futile. Under Chinese law, however, Lao Shi becomes responsible for the victim’s burgeoning, seemingly unending medical bills. (Ironically, had the victim had been killed by the accident, Lao Shi’s responsibilities would have ended with the payment of a nominal fine.) Lao Shi wants to do the right thing, but everyone around him, including his wife, begin to ridicule and abandon him for his ostensibly outdated moral code.

Based on a real-life incident, Old Stone evolves from a Kafkaesque nightmare of bureaucratic dodge, insurance loopholes and legal atrocities into a harrowing, impossible-to-shake thriller that drops us into the center of an ethical labyrinth. – Jaie Laplante


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Director: Johnny Ma
Producer: Jing Wang, Wu Xianjian, Sarah Stallard, Lin Chi-an
Screenwriter: Johnny Ma

Music: Lee Sanders
Editor: Mike Long

Cast: Chen Gang, Nai An, Wang Hongwei, Zhang Zebin, Luo Xue'er

Johnny Ma

Johnny Ma is from Shanghai but grew up in Toronto. He studied film at Columbia University and has made a number of short films that have screened at prestigious international festivals. He has received awards from the Directors Guild of America and the National Board of Review. Old Stone (16), his first feature film, premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival.