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TAKING FATHER HOME (BEI YAZI DE NANHAI) (director/writer: Ying Liang; screenwriter: Peng Shan; cinematographers: Ying Liang/Li Hongshen ; editor: Ying Liang; music: Zhang Xiao; cast: Xu Yun (Xu Yun), Liu Xiaopei (Policeman Liu), Wang Jie (Scar), Song Cijun (Xu Er), Chen Xikun (Mama), Liu Ying (Girlfriend); Runtime: 100; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Peng Shan; Typecast Releasing; 2006-China-in Sichuan Mandarin with English subtitles)

Paints an evocative picture of modern China.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The debut feature of the 28-year-old Chinese director Ying Liang (“When Night Falls”/”The Other Half”)paints an evocative picture of modern China through its portrait of the city of Zigong. The low-budget film was filmed with the directors friends and relatives, who received no pay, and with a borrowed camera.Ying Liang co-wrote the screenplay with his girlfriend Peng Shan.

Angry hayseed, country boy, the17-year-old Xu Yun (Xu Yun), informs his displeased mother (Chen Xikun) that he will take a bus to go alone and without money to the big city of Zigong in search of his father, Xu Er (Song Cijun), who abandoned his wife and children six years ago to work at a construction site but has nevertheless regularly sent mom money for child support. Xu Yun’s family is threatened with relocation because their small village in Sichuan Province was declared an industrial zone because of a government river-dam project.

On the bus, Xu Yun has no money but brings two geese he carries in a basket on his back and a small knife. There the green youngster befriends a hardened criminal named Scar (Wang Jie ), who teaches him how to eat watermelon and lays some money on him before deserting him. Xu Yun later meets a divorced pragmatic sergeant cop ( Liu Xiaopei), who treats him in a fatherly way. Refusing to return home without his father the stubborn Xu Yun, with the policeman’s help, eventually tracks down his errant dad and discovers he’s bankrupt, has another woman and a little girl, and has no plans to return home. It leads to an emotional conclusion when the son confronts his dad.

The film shows the Communist government in the midst of political change, that it relocates multitudes for the common good of building new projects, how there’s random violence in society, that many of the youth are disrespectful of the old ways, and there’s constant propaganda messages and police bulletins urging the public to help capture criminals.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”