The Two Shovels
Release year: 2017
Run time: 62 min
Film type: Documentary
After filming Tang’s family in Shattered, Xu Tong proceeds to focus on Old Tang’s third son, Tang Laosan, who is arrested on suspicion of murder. He is falsely accused of stealing two shovels by his neighbor Jin, and accidently kills Jin during a dispute. Jin’s family therefore claims compensation of 480,000 RMB. Laosan’s 18 year-old son, who is about to take the National College Entrance Examination, anxiously borrows money from all over to try and save his father. Director Xu Tong is deeply concerned with living circumstances of the lower class people who cannot get any assistance from society when encountering misfortune. He raises a social injustice concern and expresses his sympathy to the lower class through the film.
Xu Tong was born in 1965 in Beijing, and majored in news photography at the Communications University of China. He describes himself as a vagabond filmmaker, as his filmmaking focuses on those who live on the margins of the society, often outside the law, in northern China. He uses his camera to express sympathy and even empathy with the marginality and defiant nonconformity of many of his subjects.