Directed by Liu Jiayin • 2005 • China
Starring Liu Jiayin, Liu Zaiping, Jia Huifen
Daily life in an impossibly cramped Beijing apartment takes on epic proportions in this mesmerizing portrait of a working-class Chinese family. Boldly transforming documentary into narrative, Liu Jiayin casts her parents and herself as fictionalized versions of themselves. Her father, Liu Zaiping, sells leather bags but is slowly going bankrupt. He argues with his wife, Jia Huifen, and his daughter over methods to boost business in the shop. A cloud of anxiety follows them into sleepless nights shared in the same bed. But through the thousand daily travails of city life, a genuine and deeply moving picture of familial solidarity emerges. With virtually no budget and boundless ingenuity, Liu Jiayin’s eye-opening debut takes the microscopic physical and emotional details that make up a family and magnifies them on a widescreen canvas.