Black Coal, Thin Ice
Black Coal, Thin IceOriginal Title: Bai ri yan huo
Director: Diao Yinan
China, Hong Kong | Mandarin
Subtitles: Arabic, English
A, V, N
In 1999, a gruesome killing and mutilation takes place in a small town in northern China. The severed body parts of a coal factory worker are found in various locations across the province, hundreds of kilometers apart. The police investigation uncovers multiple suspects, but the attempt to bring them in for questioning takes a heavy toll; two police officers are killed and one is wounded.
The officer that was wounded, Zhang Zili, is forced to retire and take on a lowly job as a security guard in a factory. In 2004, when several uncannily similar murders come to light, he is the first to realize that all the victims had been in a relationship with one woman, Wu Zhizhen. With the help of a former colleague from the police force, Zhang decides to solve the mystery, hoping to turn his life around in the process. Wu Zhizhen works in a laundry shop, and Zhang poses as a customer. Slowly he gets to know her and begins to court her. What he hasn’t counted on is that he finds himself falling in love.
One bitterly cold winter night, Zhang has an epiphany. Nothing is as it seemed, and he is in serious danger. Justice will eventually win out, but innocence and guilt are not so easy to assess. And what about what he feels in his heart?