Winner of the Silver Bear Award at the 2003 Berlin Film Festival, this psychological drama uses a mixture of professional and non-professional actors and a semi-documentary style to deliver its stark message about the economic system and tortuous working conditions in Chinese coal mines. The story concerns two conmen, Song (Yi Xiang Li) and Tang (Shuangbao Wang), who have devised a money-earning scheme that centres around the serial murder of fellow miners. Unemployed drifters who travel around the country looking for mining work, the two repeatedly befriend a loner and convince him to pose as their relative and get a job with them in a mine. They then kill their new companion, make it look like an accidental death, and extort the bosses for hush money. But when they fall in with their latest recruit, sixteen-year-old Yuan (Baoqiang Wang), Song finds his loyalties torn as he empathises with the innocent, hopeful young man.