An elderly woman is haunted by the sacrifices she made for her family in this tense, moving and beautifully acted drama that highlights historic amnesia and the growing generation gap in contemporary China.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2015
In this engrossing amalgam of suspense drama and sharp social critique, director Wang Xiaoshuai (11 Flowers) dramatises the plight of a senior generation who raised their children during the Cultural Revolution. His protagonist, recently widowed Mrs Deng, is feeling increasingly superfluous in the lives of her two adult sons. One of them clearly lives with a male lover, though he denies it; the other is married to a professional woman whose brisk management of household affairs leaves little space for the old woman. When Mrs Deng reports threatening, anonymous phone calls to her house, her family suggest dementia, though they are secretly fearful that the tormenter is real and exacting payback for their business debts. But Mrs Deng soon has reason to suspect that something more disturbing is behind it, arousing long-suppressed shame about her self-actions as a young Red Guard. Veteran stage actress Lü Zhong gives a richly layered and deeply moving performance as a woman seeking atonement in a society that would rather delete her bitter experience from the record.