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Shenzhen businessman, Da Ming, goes home to Beijing when he thinks his father has died. He finds his father hard at work at the family's bathhouse (the false message was a ruse of Da's mentally-handicapped, exuberant brother, Er Ming, to get Da home). Da stays a couple days, observing his father being social director, marriage counselor, and dispute mediator for his customers and a boon companion to Er. Da is caught between worlds: the decaying district of his childhood and the booming south where he now lives with a wife who's not met his family. When Da realizes his father's health is failing and the district is slated for razing, he must take stock of family and future. Written by
This film is moving without being sentimental - meaningful without being pretentious. It tells a simple story of a family in danger of falling apart as the encroachments of technology and an advancing society make the family-run business increasingly untenable.
The acting is wonderful - though none of us in the west are likely to have heard of these actors, we should have long ago - they play their characters with honesty and reverence - these are flawed characters, each with major weaknesses, but with such utter humanity and kindness that it's impossible not to become engaged in the story.
We need more films like this - we need more western filmmakers creating films such as this.
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