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