Synopsis by Mark Deming
Two outsiders become unlikely friends in this drama from filmmaker Andrea Segre. Shun Li (Zhao Tao) is a thirtysomething single mother from China who has come to Italy in the hope of providing a better life for herself and her son. However, Shun Li has partnered with an unscrupulous employment agency that shifts her from job to job and makes it difficult for her to pay her fees so she can make enough money to bring her son to Italy. She works as a barmaid in a shabby waterfront tavern in the fishing village of Chioggia; there, she meets Bepi (Rade Serbedzija), an exile from Eastern Europe who has a fondness for poetry and pens doggerel verse himself. Shun Li shares with Bepi stories of Qu Yuan, China's most celebrated poet, and the two strike up a friendship that has the potential to become something more. However, the Chioggia natives make it clear that they don't approve of Shun Li and Bepi's budding relationship, especially given their suspicions about her Chinese heritage. Io sono Li (aka Shun Li and the Poet or Li and the Poet) earned Zhao Tao Best Actress honors at the 2012 David di Donatello Awards.
exile, outsider, waterfront