During the summer vacation, Ningning, a seven years old boy was sent back to the countryside to be taken care of by his 70-year-old grandfather Li Fuchang accidentally got an old friend's contact information. he learned that his old friend had suffered a stroke and was dying.He decided to ride a motorbike with his grandson,and visit his old friend in 500 kilometers away.
On the way, they met a frustrated young man,a grumpy middle-aged trucker and a lonely old beekeeper. In contact with those people, the grandfather and grandson conducted a philosophical dialogue on death and memory.
“Crossing the Border” may be perceived as a metaphor for transcending boundaries between generations. Since in fact there are no political and geographical boundaries to cross in this story. It’s a simple and modest film which looks like was made for children, but the three strands of narrative of the old farmer, his son and the grandson Ningning transforms it into a story about three generations in contemporary China (the second generation, which Ningning’s father is their representative is not at the center of attention). Ningning is going to spend the summer with his grandfather in a village, but the old man offers to take him on a long journey on his three-wheeler. So, Crossing the Border turns into a road trip movie, and the journey as expected, is an odyssey, which the path is more important than the destination in it. The grandfather tells the story of his life as they go on. He has a simple, even primitive attitude towards anyone and anything that comes across. And Ningning learns valuable lessons of life enthusiastically, from simple things like fishing without a hook to the events of the “Cultural Revolution.” Crossing the Borders may remind you of “The Straight Story” (David Lynch, 1999) , due to the several basic elements they share: an old man, traveling, the roads, and especially the motorcycle that is the equivalent of The Straight Story’s lawnmower. Ningning, as the representative of the next generation, despite the tight relationship that he has with his grandfather seems to have separated his way from the previous generations; he bury his milk tooth as a precious thing, as his grandfather throws away his rotten tooth in the street.