Towards the end of the film, the man rewatches the amateur video made at his wedding to Xuesong seven years previously. His little daughter lies asleep on the sofa beside him; his wife didn’t come home this evening. Set in a provincial town with a bus connection to Chongqing, the film tells of a classic middle-class marital crisis in contemporary China. Lies have crept into everyday life; the couple has grown further and further apart, as financial worries have eaten away at the fabric of their relationship. Within this familiar, almost conventional narrative framework, first-time director Quan Ling transports the viewer into everyday life in today’s small town China: The longings of the young taxi driver, the big businessman’s shady tax dealings, the mother-in-law’s forgotten birthday, and rumors of the wife’s affair, which culminate in the question of whether the young daughter actually even looks like her father. Not unlike a soap opera, it is the subtle exploration of the similarities and differences between then and now, here and there which makes up a large part of the film’s appeal.
by Quan Ling
with Hong Tao, Xiaodong Guo
People’s Republic of China 2013