ICE POISON (冰毒): screening at the 30th LA Asian Pacific Film Festival (May 01 – May 11, 2014)

Directed by: Midi Z 2014 | 95 min.                            Countries: Myanmar, Taiwan

Languages: Burmese, Mandarin


621 S Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90005

Monday, May 5, 2014

9:30 pm – 11:30 pm


ICE POISON, about an impoverished man, a troubled woman, and Burma’s dope trade is as distanced as it is beautiful as it is troubling. Born in Myanmar and based in Taiwan, Midi Z, the protégé of Ang Lee and Hou Hsiao-hsien presents almost every crisp, colorful shot from afar, capturing lengthy conversations between impoverished people who never look at the screen. They happen to contribute to the local drug trade.

Upon the urging of his aging father, the protagonist leaves his family’s struggling farm in opium country to become a scooter taxi driver in the big city. There, he gets mixed up in a trafficking scheme with a woman who is trying to escape a marriage she was tricked into with a much older man in China. While the plot sounds unsavory, the tone is anything but. Settings are perfectly lit and composed, even if the streets are rustic and apartments are ramshackle. These serene and unrushed scenes seamlessly shift from one to the next. Expressions and voices are even and measured, whether they involve a parent lamenting the bleak future of the family farm or new acquaintances discussing making money by selling dope. No tempers flare. No voices quiver. No one speaks up in anger or fear. The moral dilemma — to follow the father’s wishes or the lady friend’s path — does not pertain to whether drugs are good or bad. Rather, it’s a rule famously shared by Ice Cube: “Don’t get high off your own supply.” And it also doesn’t seem to be an issue of being led astray by the opposite sex as much as it is a generational change.

The happiest moments are also the most blissed out. Singing cheesy karaoke. Watching scooters go by while sitting on plastic children furniture at a roadside café. Sharing a high via wrapped up tin foil. If they are falling in love is beside the point since society and hope are in shambles. Midi Z depicts a world that is bleak but not without beauty. The haze of opium and dust off the streets turn out to be just the latest filter.



Executive Producer          Patrick Mao Huang

Producer                               Patrick Mao Huang, Midi Z

Director                          Midi Z

Screenplay                      Midi Z

Cinematographer             Fan Sheng-Siang

Production Designer         Zhao Zhi-Tang

Editor                              Lin Sheng-Wen, Midi Z

Cast                                Zhou Cai Chang, Li Shang Da, Wu Ke-Xi, Yang Shu Lan, Wang Shin-Hong

Costume Designer            Dan Ka Ming Lwin

Sound                             Chou Cheng



468 ad

Leave a Reply