Filming in the darkness of China’s death row
Wu Hongyan works as a prison officer in a courthouse in western China. She takes care of women on death row, most of which were sentenced in crime passionnel cases.
One day, Wu falls for Li Jun. But she soon discovers the man she loves was married to one of the women she executed.
Wu longs for love, Li for revenge, but they are both facing the wall of the death penalty. They are the protagonists of a sad and hard, yet beautiful film.
Diao Yi Nan, who directed Night Train, said that he started filming to escape a nightmare that kept haunting him: “I was sentenced to death by a court and I suddenly woke up in a sweat, terribly anguished.”
“The death penalty does not solve anything”
Although Diao’s purpose was not to shoot a militant film, he clearly opposes capital punishment: “The death penalty does not solve anything, even when it targets a murderer”, he said. In a country where “moral values are under threat”, he thinks that “those people who let their emotions take control are in favour of the death penalty”.
The film also deals with the influence of corruption and brutality on Chinese society, including the judiciary.
Night Train was shown at the 2007 Cannes Festival as part of the “Un certain regard” selection. As the October 10 World Day Against the Death Penalty is set to focus on Asia, the film is now coming out in DVD and the World Coalition is the official partner of the French release.