Return to Dust

Yin Ru Chen Yan

Time is essential in both cinema and farming according to director Li Ruijun, who returns to his familiar hometown in rural China to tell the story of Ma and Cao, two lonely middle-aged people who are pushed into an arranged marriage. Faced with the adversity of nature and farm life, the couple seeks to understand the Earth’s cycles and find harmony in the ever-changing challenges of the farming process, as their own bond begins to blossom. Ruijun brings to the screen the virtues and simple pleasures of a traditional way of rural life, in a graceful, subtle, and soulful film that poetically underscores the bond between humans and the land in a fast-changing China.

Screening Schedule

No physical screenings scheduled.

Direction: Li Ruijun
Script: Li Ruijun
Cinematography: Wang Weihua
Editing: Li Ruijun
Sound: Wang Changrui
Music: Peyman Yazdanian
Actors: Wu Renlin, Hai Qing
Production: Qizi Films Limited, Beijing J.Q. Spring Pictures Company Limited, Such a Good Film, Beijing Alibaba Pictures Culture Co.,Ltd., Dream Media Co.,Ltd., Hucheng No.7 Films Limited, Aranya Pictures Co.,Ltd., Hangzhou Qin Zi Zai Co.,Ltd., Beijing SHOWCASE Culture Media Co.,Ltd.
Producers: Qin Hong, Zhang Min, Li Yan
Production Design: Li Ruijun, Han Dahai
Executive producer: Xiang He
Format: DCP
Color: Color
Production Country: China
Production Year: 2022
Duration: 133΄
Distribution in Greece: Ama Films
Contact: m-appeal
Awards/Distinctions: FIPRESCI Prize for Best Foreign Film – Jameson CineFest/Miskolc IFF 2022, Audience Award – Udine Far East FF 2022

Li Ruijun

Li Ruijun is a Chinese film director and screenwriter. He was born in 1983 in, Gansu China, and graduated from the Communication University of Shanxi. He has directed 5 feature films, all of which tend to focus on the relationship between human beings and the land, as well as the rural attitude towards family, life, and death in a rapidly changing China. His films are predominantly set in his hometown of Gaotai with his close friends and relatives acting in his films.


2007 The Summer Solstice
2010 The Old Donkey 
2012 Fly with the Crane
2015 River Road
2017 Walking Past the Future
2022 Return to Dust