follows four recent graduates: Zhao wants to be a writer but is stuck proofreading; Tang wants to be an artist but is hired to dress windows. Xu has given up hope, while Liu has "gone north" to fight the Japanese. Zhao lives in a crowded boardinghouse with an annoying female neighbor. Unbeknownst to each other, the two meet on a bus and a romance develops.
DAYBREAK: Perhaps more than any other director working at that time, Sun Yu consistently sought to portray the working class affected by feudalism and imperialism. In Daybreak, Li plays a villager forced into prostitution in Shanghai, while her lover (Gao) joins the revolutionaries. After she helps him flee the authorities, she is sentenced to death by a firing squad, a scene of devastating impact.
Essays by film critic Andy Klein