Little Moth (Xue Chan)

PENG Tao, China (2007) Narrative, 99 minutes

Hubei dialect w/ English subtitles

Little Moth “Suspenseful, moving yet ruthlessly unsentimental.” – Jason Anderson, Eye Weekly

A nearly perfect little film.” – Shelly Kraicer, Vancouver International Film Festival

When an impoverished country couple adopts a crippled young girl and puts her to work begging on city streets, a battle soon ensues over her fate.

Luo Jiang and Guihua, a poor, middle-aged couple with few prospects, decide to buy an 11-year-old girl, Xiao Ezi (aka “Little Moth”), for $140 in rural China. Xiao Ezi’s life is in peril, as she is forced to earn money for her new parents as a beggar while suffering from a blood disease that leaves her unable to walk. Her greedy adoptive father, Luo Jiang, refuses to buy her medicine, while Guihua’s growing maternal affection wracks her with guilt. After a run-in with local extortionists, the three flee into the territory of the unsavory Mr. Yang, whose one-armed boy Xiao Chun is also forced to beg. Inevitably the grownups take turns taking advantage of each other, giving the children a rare opportunity to develop a protective bond with one another.

With virtually no budget, a hand-held digital camera and a cast of non-professionals, Peng Tao turns the sordid street life of small town China into a chain-reaction tale of human cruelty and unforgettable suspense. LITTLE MOTH “melds the anger and storytelling scope of Dickens, the doc-influenced immediacy and sensitive gaze of the Dardenne brothers, and the best tendencies of recent Chinese cinema.” (Robert Koehler, Variety).

Director’s Bio:

Peng Tao


New York Times

Select Film Festivals:

  • Hong Kong International Film Festival
  • Locarno International Film Festival
  • Bucharest International Film Festival
  • Cairo International Film Festival
  • Brisbane International Film Festival

Film Clips:

**This title is available in the United States only
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