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A woman escapes from the man who is about to rape her, but leaves her purse behind. Afraid that her attacker might come after her, she goes to the police, but with no proof of the incident, they can do nothing. In fact, the man does use the information in her bag and comes to her apartment with the intent of rape, but she sprays him in the face with insect repellent, and then holds him captive. She is then faced with deciding whether to go to the police who might not believe her and release him, or to kill him.
Two policemen, one an old-timer, the other his volatile younger partner, find themselves suspended when a video of their strong-arm tactics becomes the media’s cause du jour. Low on cash and with no other options, these two embittered soldiers descend into the criminal underworld to gain their just due, but instead find far more than they wanted awaiting them in the shadows.
After serving time in prison, former drug addict Sherry Swanson returns home to reclaim her young daughter from family members who have been raising the child. Sherry’s family, especially her sister-in-law, doubt Sherry’s ability to be a good mother, and Sherry finds her resolve to stay clean slowly weakening.
During the economic reform period of the 80’s, three undergraduates bind together by a common ambition – to live the American dream. They are Cheng Dongqing, a hillbilly who refuses to accept his destiny of being a farmer; Meng Xiaojun, a self-confident, cynical intellectual; and Wang Yang, an idealistic romantic poet. Xiaojun is the first to obtain an US Visa for studying abroad. Yang follows but decides to remain in China for his beloved. Poor Dongqing is rejected by the US Embassy repeatedly. Baffled, he reluctantly accepts the job as an English instructor in the university but eventually gets fired for teaching tutorial classes in private. Across the Pacific, Xiaojun fails to find a decent job and is driven to work as a busboy in a diner.
In may 1940, the German troops enter France. Frightened by the progress of the enemy, the people of a small village of Pas-de-Calais decide on the recommendations of the prefecture, to give up everything to go on the road, fleeing to the coast.