Friday, March 10, 2023
Critic's Pick! A cool, quietly brilliant heartbreaker.
The film feels utterly present and on the pulse of the question of what it means to be a young woman in modern China.
An attentive, engaged character study, an uncommonly candid (for China) women’s picture.
You’d have to go to Russian literature to find something similar in terms of what Huang Ji and Otsuka Ryuji have brought us with this film.
Engrossing and thoughtful.
For more than a decade, Beijing-based wife-and-husband team Huang Ji and Ryuji Otsuka have been making films about the lives of young people in China—in many cases “left-behind children,” or those whose parents are forced to leave their families to find jobs in cities. Expanding their project, their gripping, humane yet uncompromising latest, shot with a precise formal economy by Otsuka (who also serves as cinematographer), focuses on a year in the life of Lynn, a flight-attendant-in-training whose plans to finish college are thrown into doubt when she discovers she’s pregnant. Not wanting an abortion (a decision she hides from her callow, absent boyfriend, away on modeling and party hosting gigs), she hopes to give the child away after carrying it to term, while staying afloat amidst a series of dead-end jobs. As incarnated by the filmmakers’ quietly potent recurring star Yao Honggui, Lynn—whose story continues after being the center of the filmmakers’ acclaimed The Foolish Bird (2017)—is both a fully rounded character and the vessel for an urgent critique of a modern-day social structure that has few options for women in need of care. An NYFF60 Main Slate selection. A KimStim release with support from the China Institute.
Watch the NYFF60 Q&A below.