A group of kids are swimming at a reservoir—a moment later, tragedy strikes. We only see them for a moment, however, before going back in time to the 1980s, where we are introduced to the love story between Yaojun and Liyun, who work together at a factory and live in a workers’ hotel. Right after giving birth to a son, Liyun gets pregnant for a second time, but China’s one-child policy is already in force. In the end, a third child—an adopted son who causes them trouble—appears. The three-hour film by Wang Xiaoshuai—one of the most important of China’s Sixth Generation filmmakers—depicts thirty years in the lives of the protagonists in a reserved and poetic way, while also summing up the last three decades of Chinese history. The result is a balance sheet of the profits and losses from the transformation initiated by Deng Xiaoping’s policies and the country's civilizational leap. Wang Jingchun and Yong Mei, who play the leads, received awards for their performances at this year’s Berlin Festival.
A Chinese film director and screenwriter, Wang Xiaoshuai was born in 1966 in Shanghai, but his family was sent to Guizhou during the Cultural Revolution. He initially studied painting but then joined the newly opened Beijing Film Academy and later became one of the so-called the Sixth Generation of Chinese directors. He made his debut in 1993 with The Days. His Shanghai Dreams (2005) was an award winner at Cannes, and Beijing Bicycle (2001), 11 Flowers (2011) and this year’s So Long, My Son won awards at the Berlinale.
1993 Dongchun de rizi / The Days
2001 Rower z Pekinu / Shiqi sui de dan che / Beijing Bicycle
2005 Szanghajskie sny / Qing hong / Shanghai Dreams
2007 W miłości cała nadzieja / Zuo you / In Love We Trust
2011 11 kwiatów / Wo 11 / 11 Flowes
2019 Żegnaj, mój synu / Di jiu tian chang / So Long, My Son