Old Stone (2016)

Lao Shi (Gang Shen) drives a taxi, and he’s gotten himself into a situation. A drunk passenger causes him to hit a motorcyclist, and instead of waiting for the ambulance and police, he takes the man to the hospital on his own. His act of genuine concern causes him great difficulty since he must pay for the injured man’s medical bills who is in a coma. Lao Shi can’t be reimbursed by his insurance, which is taking longer than usual because, in China, the process would have been easier if the victim had died at the scene. His wife Mao Mao (Nai An) needs money to open a daycare, his daughter has dance lessons, and he can’t drive his taxi since it’s been impounded for the investigation. After a series of bad choices, nagging from his angry wife and assaulting his boss, Lao Shi spirals into desperation as he looks for a way out of what seemed like a Good Samaritan gesture at the time.

Canadian writer/director Johnny Ma’s film is an intense, modern noir film about a man down on luck. Lao Shi shows the contradiction of bureaucracy and conscience, morals versus money, and the dark places we go when there is nowhere to turn.

Review by Carolyn Mauricette

Available on:




Asian Stories, TIFF

Canadian connection

Writer/Director Johnny Ma
Winner of the 2016 Best Canadian First Feature Film award at the Toronto International Film Festival.