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Anthony Chau-Sang Wong
Relationship between father and son on a background of Maoist regime in China in the mid-20th century. The father, a painter by profession, interned in a labor camp for "re-education" and loses his ability to paint. he teaches his son to draw, but does so obsessively. The convoluted relationship between father and son that spread over the period of childhood, adolescence and maturity of the son are being resolved in a surprising and sensitive way. Written by
Toronto Film Festival Screening: An Insider's Journey Worth Taking
The English Name for this movie is Sunflower. I saw this at the Toronto Film Festival.
This was a thoughtful piece of work and is definitely worth a look for an insightful dramatic tale in a Chinese setting -- with both family and society as key themes. I hope more movies like this get made!
The story takes us through the life of an urban Chinese family -- the father becomes the art teacher and disciplinarian for his 'want-to-have-fun-with-the-town-kids' son. In broad strokes, we see the clash of father-son wills as each tries to get his own way. But the conflict is born out of an emotional pain as father's hands were crushed purposefully during the cultural revolution -- to prevent him from drawing anymore. How much more awful can you get? As the movie fast-forwards through time, we see the broad strokes transform as both son and father grow and continue their journey through life -- more conflict, more of an interesting view on the life they're going through. The artwork in this movie speaks volumes. The Sunflower imagery is moving. I'm choking up as I write this.
FAMILY: The director was present and commented how society is based on family, and hence how looking at family relationships really allows you to examine society. For some reason, the close-up look at a family worked really well for me. Very nuanced writing and direction.
EVOCATIVE OF REALITY: The timing of the key story events rooted in recent history made this story really come alive for me. As society influenced the characters, the characters reacted to society. This really gave the story a fresh dose of reality and gave me what really felt like a true insider's perspective on a set of experiences growing up in China.
For me, this story made me reflect on my own family, my own life, and force me to examine some choices I've made in my past. It was a tad long, but still worth the time.
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