向日葵 | Sunflower

Sunflower

The tumultuous relationship between a father returning home after years in a labor camp and the nine-year-old son who doesn’t quite know what to make of this new man in his life lies at the heart of director Zhang Yang’s heartfelt drama addressing the nature of change and the importance of family in Chinese culture. Chairman Mao has died and the Gang of Four have fallen, leaving former painter Gengnian to return home to his wife, Xiuqing, and the pair’s nine-year-old son Xiangyang. His hands permanently damaged by the ravages of hard labor, Gengnian cannot return to painting, though his young son has shown an abundance of artistic promise. Troubled by the sudden presence of a father he has never known and rebelling against the path laid before him, Xiangyang ignites a firecracker in his hand in hopes that it may derail his artistic career. In the years that follow, Xiangyang’s reputation as a talented artist grows while his relationship with his father remains forever troubled.

Directed by Yang Zhang | Starring : Joan Chen, Haiying Sun, Zhang Fan, Zifeng Liu, Jing Liang | Presented at Toronto Film Festival, San Sebastian Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, Bangkok Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival, Tokyo Film Festival

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过年回家 | Seventeen Years

Seventeen Years

A modest family is destined for tragedy due to the tense rivalry between two teenage stepsisters. In a fit of rage, Tao Lan accidentally kills her stepsister. Seventeen years later, she is part of the inmates selected for a furlough during the brief New Year holiday. Chen Jie, a young female guard notices that Tao Lan stays behind and does not seem to wish to go out. She escorts the solitary Tao Lan, now a stranger to life outside prison, to her old neighborhood. Tao Lan’s house has long been demolished due to wild demolitions and new constructions in Tianjin. Late in the evening, the two women arrive at the new home of Tao Lan’s aged parents, and Chen Jie witnesses the fragile emotional exchanges of a painful family reunion…

Directed by Yuan Zhang | Starring : Lin Liu, Bingbing Li, Yeding Li, Song Liang, Yun Li | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Vienna Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival, Gijón Film Festival, Mar del Plata Film Festival, Singapore Film Festival, Karlovy Vary Film Festival, Jakarta Film Festival, Fajr Film Festival