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So long, my son

A Chinese family epic spanning three decades. The private and the political meld together at a time of constant change.


Three decades of Chinese history, from the end of the 20th century to the present, from the awakening after the cultural revolution in the 80s to prospering turbo capitalism, told in 3 hours. The Berlinale competition film by Wang Xiaoshuai reveals the transformation of the People‘s Republic and shows how the private and the political meld together.

Wang weaves a narrative net surrounding the fate of a couple during the fall of communism in a fascinating montage made up of flashbacks, with roots that are still felt today. SO LONG, MY SON is about the selling out of a budding capitalism, when the factories closed and unemployment was looming, and about how a careless moment can destroy a life. It begins with a tragedy, the death of a boy. Years later his parents Lui Yaojun (Wang Jing-Chun) and Wang Liyun (Yong Mei) live far away from home in a small coastal town. The people‘s dialect there is as foreign as their adoptive son Liu Xing (Wang Yuan). Memories of the past hinder the future. SO LONG, MY SON slowly reveals the path and situation that led the couple to this place and shows a society in permanent transition where the individual gets in trouble.

Wang Xiaoshuai makes the deep scars beneath the surface of an ostensible success story visible using big tableaus. He carefully develops a sensitive net that carries over to a brilliant ending. Big, emotional cinema on a small-scale. A chronicle, made for the screen, with two fantastic actors at the center: Wang Jing-chun and Yong Mei embody the couple throughout the decades. The two of them received the best acting Silver Bear at this year‘s Berlinale.

Lars Tunçay

Translation: Elinor Lewy


Original title: Di jiu tian chang
China 2019, 185 min
Language: Mandarin
Genre: Drama
Director: Xiaoshuai Wang
Author: Mei Ah, Xiaoshuai Wang
DOP: Hyunseok Kim
Montage: Lee Chatametikool
Music: Dong Yingda
Distributor: Piffl Medien
Cast: Jingchun Wang, Xi Qi, Mei Yong, Yuan Wang
FSK: 6
Release: 14.11.2019


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