5 items from 2014
Falling squarely into what has become SundanceTV’s niche of spare, slow-moving, decidedly bleak dramas, “One Child” yields a devastating portrait of China’s one-child policy and an adopted young English woman’s unexpected desire to connect with her roots. Narratively uneven and at times exasperating in the characters’ choices, this four-hour miniseries nevertheless sets up a sobering scenario, with Katie Leung (best known for the “Harry Potter” movies) as a student suddenly thrust into a life-or-death scenario, trying to navigate a Chinese system steeped in corruption. While far from perfect, the story ultimately yields a potent emotional wallop.
Raised in London by her adopted parents (Donald Sumpter, Elizabeth Perkins), Leung’s Mei is contacted by a Chinese journalist (Linh-Dan Pham) who has tracked her down to deliver some shocking news: After Mei was given up, her parents had a son (Sebastian So), who has been wrongly convicted of a murder he didn’t commit, »
- Brian Lowry
In SundanceTV's new miniseries, "One Child," keepsakes abound. Adoption files in a British country home; a photograph in a Guangzhou hotel room; a certificate of achievement from a Chinese school: from these mementos screenwriter Guy Hibbert and director John Alexander construct a complex family portrait in the vernacular of an international thriller, adding another notch to the network's impressive belt ("Rectify," "Top of the Lake," "The Honorable Woman"). Indeed, it's this attention to globalization's human dimension that marks the miniseries as such powerful viewing. "One Child" asks, finally, how our understanding of the wider world changes when we're forced to confront it face to face. In this sense, the miniseries' excitements, though abundant, occur on intimate terrain. With the exception of the crime that sets the narrative in motion, the tension derives not from adventurous set pieces but from quotidian suspense »
- Matt Brennan
Director: John Alexander
Screenplay: Andrew Davies
The BBC have taken some gambles on high profile detective dramas over the past few years. There was Zen with Rufus Sewell set in sumptuous Italy and Kenneth Branagh’s Wallander in a Sweden of buttery fields and bleak coastlines. The former died on its perfectly-formed backside and the latter took off but its star has a busy schedule. An initially unpromising setting of gloomy 1950s Dublin is the latest stalking ground for Quirke with Gabriel Byrne, and on this evidence there are the makings of a compelling saga with a few chunks of mystery thrown in for good measure.
Based on the books by Benjamin Black, Dr. Quirke is a pathologist, so ideally placed to be in the thick of a case, or at least follow in its aftermath and reawaken it as in tonight’s offering, »
- Steve Palace
Katie Leung will lead the cast of the drama as Mei, who is adopted by Anglo-American parents and sets out to find out more about her original home.
Perkins and Sumpter will play Mei's adoptive American mother and British father.
Mei returns to her birthplace of Guangzhou after birth mother Liu (Mardy Ma) seeks her help in saving her son Ajun (Sebastion So).
Veteran actor Sumpter recently starred »
One Child sees Leung play a young Chinese-born woman adopted by Anglo-American parents, who makes her way across the world on a personal voyage to discover who she really is.
Writer Guy Hibbert said: "I wanted to visit a contemporary Chinese city to discover what I felt was the most important story to tell from the point of view of the ordinary Chinese citizen. It is, of course, corruption - as it is in far too many countries throughout the world.
"My story is set amongst the poorest in the city and amongst the richest, the new billionaire class, abusing power alongside provincial Party officials.
"I have also looked at the effect of »
5 items from 2014
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