Synopsis by Clarke Fountain
The kinds of crimes that, in Europe or America, would earn a perpetrator a modest jail sentence, a fine, or simply a family reprimand, earn the individuals in this Chinese film long terms of incarceration in very remote prison labor-reform camps. One woman is guilty of prostitution, a boy is guilty of not wanting to work hard enough, and so on. In the story, a group of travelers who are on their way to visit their imprisoned relatives join forces on the road. This is a social message film, which drives home the idea that the effects of even minor crimes ripple out to the entire society, striking the families of the malefactors and their victims first.