Café by The Highway (Xiaofan Shi) China. Official Section

Café by The Highway
Xiaofan Shi
China. 2021. 108 min

Three years ago, a girl named Yuanfang Han left home because of her father’s slap in the face. She found a job as a barista in Shanghai. Three years later, heartbroken, she returns to her hometown Baima and becomes a highway toll station collector. But the monotonous life in her hometown contrasts with Yuanfang’s desire for adventure. Yuanfang begins to miss the good old days when she made coffee in the city. One day, she and her colleague Da Li find an abandoned space capsule by the highway. They make coffee in the wild space capsule, dreaming of life in a big city in the distance.


Shi Xiaofan is currently one of China’s top visual artist. He has worked as an exclusive photographer and short film director for luxury fashion clients such as Vogue, Dior and Louis Vuitton. He has directed numerous TV commercials and personal video art pieces for museums and galleries. His photography work is part of the collection at Beijing UCCA, European House of Photography and various museums in the United States and France. His first short film A PARISIAN MOVIE released in 2011 receives high praises from the audience. CAFÉ BY THE HIGHWAY is his first full-length feature film.


I have driven to West China for a long trip many times. Every night, when passing by the toll station, I would meet those collectors who were waiting by themselves. And they would look at me, the stranger, carefully, listening to the music in my car, then have a polite wave goodbye. They are the loneliest persons I have ever seen. They are forgotten and they imagine their own journey. But they fascinated me. If movies can make a dream, I want to give them a miracle, just in one night, because I want to help them escape reality.