Novelist-blogger Han Han makes his directorial debut with a road trip film about the dreams and confusion of modern Chinese youth. Wishing to explore the world and look for a longtime pen pal, Ma Haohan (Feng Shaofeng, Painted Skin 2) leaves the small island he grew up on with two friends, Jiang He (Chen Bolin, Buddha Mountain), a nerdy geography teacher, and Hu Sheng, the narrator. Jiang, a hopelessly naive idealist, soon loses his heart to call girl Su Mi (May Wang, Driverless), while Ma uncovers more than he had anticipated about his pen pal crush Liu Yingying (Yolanda Yuan, Like a Dream). Unfazed, the friends pick up a hitchhiker, a former motorcyclist who claims to have “lost” his bike and wife.
Han Han, who is also a racecar driver, opted to tell his tale from behind the wheel. Scoring an opening day gross of $12 million USD, The Continent proves to be a promising first film of a new generation of Chinese filmmakers. — KE