The Two Lives of Li Ermao (2019)

  • Main Competition, Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 1h 27m


Filmed over 17 years across Southern China, this remarkable film is an intimate and heart-wrenching portrait of Li Ermao, a transgender migrant worker, who performs in clubs looking for love and acceptance. Living as a “ladyboy” with a string of boyfriends, she faces repeated encounters of prejudice and aggression with equal measures of resilience and vulnerability. With a flair for the dramatic and her budding career as a popstar, Ermao’s story takes many dramatic twists and surprising turns as she moves between the urban and the rural, searching for identity and fighting for a better life.

Competing for the RAI Film Prize and Basil Wright Film Prize.

A pre-recorded conversation between Andrè Singer and Angela Piccini is available here.

A live discussion with the filmmakers will take place on Zoom on Thursday 25 March, 19:30 - 19:55 UTC. Find the roundtable abstract and a link to join the live discussion here.

You can read an interview by Lucy James with Kiki Tianqi Yu, the producer of The Two Lives of Li Ermao, on our blog.

Please note, we are taking Zoom security seriously to ensure a safe space for discussion. Everyone wishing to join the live discussion will need to have a verified Zoom account. Sign up for free here.


Jia Yuchuan


China, United Kingdom

Bonus Content

Interview with André Singer

An interview with The Two Lives of Li Ermao producer André Singer, by Angela Piccini.