Marco Polo once described the southern Chinese city of Suzhou as the ‘Venice of the East’. And yet, where streams once flowed, there is now mainly barren wasteland. A community of travellers now stops here to set up their circus. A single house still stands, all boarded up – but not for long. The wasteland has long since become a place of interest to property speculators. A gang of petty thieves including one named Superman is ordered to expel the circus people. And so Superman sets out, only to run into Hong. She is from his village and now works as a stripper in the travellers’ tent. Superman would like to liberate her and take her away with him to the seaside. It’s just that he’s strapped for cash. What should he do? The bulldozers arrive to demolish the last house in this wasteland. Hong climbs onto the travellers’ truck. She wants to move on, and on, with the circus. Superman travels to the seaside. Alone. And the river flows to the sea, carrying all its secrets with it.
by Zhou Yan
with Wu Bi, Lipstick Chan
People’s Republic of China 2011