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Blind Shaft

A 2003 film about a pair of brutal con artists operating in the illegal coal mines of present-day northern China.

April 24, 2008 7:00pm to 9:00pm

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Most coal mines in China are worked by migrant workers who are forced to endure back-breaking, dangerous work in order to send money home. Some of them have additional schemes of their own.

Song Jinming (played by Li Qiang) and Tang Zhaoyang (Wang Shuangbao) are professional con artists, running an intricate scam they have perfected through repeated practice. They find a naive young man looking for work, and convince him that they have arranged three lucrative coal mining jobs for themselves and a relative. The relative has not arrived in time, leaving a gap which they generously offer to the victim, on the condition that he pretend to be the missing relative. After a few days of working in the mine, they murder the victim, and by making the murder look like an accident, they use his death to extort compensation money from the mine's management.

After introducing the scam, the film follows the pair as they repeat it on a new victim, sixteen-year-old Yuan Fengming (played by Wang Baoqiang). Tensions arise as Song begins to have reservations, touched by the victim's youth and innocence, while Tang remains focused on making money for himself and his own family.