On the outskirts of a small town, a bus driver and her passengers encounter highway robbers.
BUS 44 is just worth to be watched. Rough, raw, unfolds all the humanity and inhumanity of people. With a simple setting (a deserted road, a barren landscape and a bus), the director creates a story which speaks clear to the audience. Starting from a robbery, an awfwul action by itself, darker and worst events come up on screen. BUS 44 is a short film about morality (or lack of it) and is a strong punch in the stomach. The bus driver, one of the main characters, is the one who suffers the most from the reckless actions of the robbers: she pays the money, and then gets raped. The only one who tries, and fails, to save her, is the last passenger who came on board before the thieves. Nobody else moves, talks, screams, does anything: they are spectators of an excruciating scene, including the man the bus driver tried to help when he didn’t want to give up his money. When the robbers finally take off and the bus is ready to hit the road again, the last passenger is not allowed on board, even if he seemed to be the only ‘hero’ of the situation: this action by the driver looks unnecessarily cruel, mean and nonsense… But the ending explains everything. The guy manages to hitchhike, but the car stops when the police rushes for an incident: Bus 44 has fallen off the street and all the passengers, including the driver, are dead. With the last smile by the surviving passenger, the short film ends, leaving the audience with the consciousness that he was the only one the bus driver would have never hurt, since he at least tried to help her. An amazing film that again demonstrates that ‘short’ film doesn’t mean of less worth of a feature.
As the number 4 has the same sound of the word ‘death’ in some languages (such as, in this case, Chinese), it is possible that the title is a premonition of what will happen at the end.
BUS 44 won a special mention at Venice Film Festival in Italy, honorable mention at Sundance, Grand Jury Award at Florida Film Festival and was in nominations all over the world, from Edinburgh International Film Festival to Gijón International Film Festival, from Seattle International Film Festival to Toronto Worldwide Short Film Festival and many more.
Title: BUS 44 (Che si shi si)
Director: Dayyan Eng
Country: China, Hong Kong, USA
Running time: 11