In a Shandong village, an old peasant woman falls. Immediately, her children take advantage of it to declare her disabled, in order to sign up her in a nursing home. Waiting for a bed to be released, the old mother is brought to each of her children's home,
YONG LE, a young migrant worker from the south, salvages furniture to re-sell. He lives in a room in Beijing’s Underground City, a labyrinthian former bomb shelter that serves as cheap housing for people looking for opportunity in the big city. But after a bad work accident leaves him temporarily blind, he has to use a rope to find his way around the dimly lit basement halls, until the night he meets a girl at the other end of his rope... XIAO YUN, is a migrant too. She is desperately trying to find new employment so that she can leave her job pole dancing at nights. Her meeting with YONG LE and their burgeoning relationship encourages her to hunt for a more respectable job. At ground level, old LAO JIN has been struggling for years to get a decent compensation deal from the authorities who want to demolish his house. His health is declining and his savings are evaporating. And he’s counting on YONG LE to sell his furniture at a good price. Three lives propelled by the « Chinese Dream » intermingle in the vast melting pot of the Beijing metropolis.
One summer day, a man, his current compagnion and his daughter arrive to their countryside house to spend a weekend. After the death of her mother, the sixteen year old daughter lives with her father, whose attention she lacks. He is tired of his daily routine at work and does not know how to find strength to carry on living. His wife, a violinist, does not feel any joy of life, as she is confused in her priorities – music, love and career. Despite the fact the man and his wife love each other, their relationship is tensed and is on the brink of collapse.
A filmmaker is working on his next film on monstrosity theme. He developed the idea with his colleagues in working sessions, including actors he has chosen for the lead roles and his producer. He seems obsessed with the idea of finding a canvas which would be like the heart of the upcoming film and symbolize, crystallize, the power and beauty of monsters. The vastness of possibilities and interpretations, it uses the services of an art historian who will offer him many paintings and with whom he will begin discussions increasingly passionate. Spilliaert, Francis Bacon, Hans Bellmer, Diane Arbus, Gustave Moreau, each meeting the hustle and calls the next. His desires become clear, he even decides to run rehearsals to see how the idea develops itself. But it does not show to anyone, not even his wife is this spot that grows in his back. This red mark that worries, and seems to express something…
Lianqing and Guo meet when they illegally crossed into Thailand. Lianqing finds a job as a dishwasher in a restaurant while Guo works in a textile factory in the suburbs. But Guo’s faith in Lianqing is diminishing rapidly; their love is irreversibly doomed. Director