7.5/10
577
3 user 18 critic

So Long, My Son (2019)

Di jiu tian chang (original title)
Two married couples adjust to the vast social and economic changes taking place in China from the 1980s to the present.

Director:

Xiaoshuai Wang
4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Liya Ai Liya Ai ... Haiyan Li
Jiang Du ... Hao Shen
Zhao-Yan Guo-Zhang Zhao-Yan Guo-Zhang ... Xinjian Zhang
Jingjing Li ... Meiyu Gao
Xi Qi ... Moli Shen
Jingchun Wang ... Yaojun Liu
Roy Wang ... Xing Liu
Cheng Xu Cheng Xu ... Yingming Shen
Mei Yong Mei Yong ... Liyun Wang
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Storyline

'We're waiting to grow old'. This sentence briefly sums up Yaoyun and his wife Liyun's bitter realization about their lives. They were once a happy family - until their son drowned playing by a reservoir. And so Yaojun and Liyun leave their home and plunge into the big city, although nobody knows them there and they cannot even understand the local dialect. Their adopted son Liu Xing does not offer them the comfort they had hoped for either. Defiantly rejecting his 'foreign' parents, he one day disappears altogether. The married couple are repeatedly enmeshed in their memories. Finally, they decide to return to the site of their lost hopes. In this family saga spanning three decades of Chinese history, the private and the political merge and the individual gets caught up in the gears of a society in the throes of constant change. Part melodrama, part critique of the times, this film takes us from the country's upheaval in the 1980s following the Cultural Revolution to the prospering ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

China

Language:

Chinese

Release Date:

22 March 2019 (China) See more »

Also Known As:

So Long, My Son See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Dongchun Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first installment of "Homeland" trilogy by Wang Xiaoshuai which will be spanning China over the past 50 years. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Successful undertaking to show three decades of life within a Chinese rural environment, covering all ups and downs that can befall an average family
1 March 2019 | by JvH48See all my reviews

Saw this at the Berlinale 2019, where it was part of the official Competition. Two prizes were awarded: Silver Bear for Best Actor (Wang Jingchun) and one Silver Bear for Best Actress (Yong Mei). Apart from the acting, it was very interesting to see China transform in thirty years time, albeit that we see only a rural part of China, far away from the big city centers, thus avoiding large scale business and touristic areas.

Showing China while undergoing a drastic change, is one of the main themes of this movie, if not the main one. From a side line we get to see the transformation in progress, going from a communist country towards modern (semi?) capitalism. Factories, workplaces and houses the people work and live in, seem carefully designed to be true to the reality of the times at hand, thereby demonstrating an admirable attention for details.

A perfect example was the factory closure. The gathering with the workers was very illustrative. It showed that such things went in communist times exactly as how it goes nowadays. The workers assembled can protest and find that the director must be sent away. The harsh reality was (of course) in communist times exactly as in our capitalist times. Jobloss overcomes the humble workers, as if it was a natural disaster. There is nothing they can do about it, regardless of all being called "comrades". Neither can help be found in communist textbooks and the principles of "worker's self management".

On the other hand, regarding the implicit second theme, the family related stories of the protagonists, the developments were difficult to follow for me. This was partly due to some unnecessary time jumps and flash backs, partly caused by not telling who-is-who when a new protagonist appears, partly because of me being unable to tell Chinese people apart. Though the story starts with a fatal drowning accident, the people involved will re-unite in the end and will live happily ever after, even when the real truth comes out thirty years later, and even after someone admits having played a dark role in the accident.

It is no problem to sit out the three hours this movie lasts, though not really involving on a human level. And it was certainly not moving or heart-breaking as per what other reviewers wrote. The ground cause for this psychological distance is (see above) the difficulties I had to follow the persons involved, besides the fact that their logic was failing on me a few times.

All in all, I was glad to have seen this movie, regardless of my problems with following the various personal story lines and their interwoven connections. The nearly three hours are easy to sit through, so no problem there. And the ending was a surprise (no details, no spoilers), particularly because it did not cause a hard break in relationships, despite there would have been ample reason for a break-up after admitting a few 30-year-old lies.


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