China is in the spotlight these days–and not in a positive way. Whether the Coronavirus (aka Covid-19) emerged from a bio-lab or a wet market is unclear, but whatever the origin, the Chinese government was secretive and deceptive regarding the contagion’s lethality and ability to spread.

The CCP’s (Chinese Communist Party) oppression of its citizens and suppression of the truth in general is further underscored in the short film Drifting. It’s difficult enough managing questions of sexual identity in the West, so one can imagine how this quandary might afflict a person living under an authoritarian regime which prizes conformity above all else.

Such is the plight of the character Yan in Drifting, who was raised as a girl despite being born a boy. Yan’s parents had previously birthed a daughter, and having another child was a direct violation of China’s restrictive ‘one child policy.’ Thus, they decided to send off the older daughter and raise Yan as a girl.

It’s not only Yan who suffers but the parents as well, and the cinematic style and choice of frantic driving scenes reflect everyone’s trauma. When you get down to it, Drifting is not just a film about identity and population control: it’s a metaphor for anyone who is forced to live against his or her will.

In the times of Covid-19, transgender, Western, or anything in between, we are all feeling the pinch of restricting the way we exist. Drifting brings these issues and feelings into clear focus for any viewer.

Blast rating: 3.5 of 4 stars

About The Author

Randy Steinberg has been a Blast film critic since 2011. He has a Master's Degree in Film/Screenwriting from Boston University. He taught screenwriting at BU from 1999-2010. In 2020, he joined the Boston Online Critics Film Association (BOFCA). Randy can be contacted at his website:

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