Written April 02, 2009
Zhang Yang's amazingly powerful examination of generational lapses is only heightened by a trenchantly moving story of a poor Chinese family at the end of the Cultural Revolution attempting to mend the shattered pieces of their bonds when a father returns after 6 years in a work camp for anti establishment offenses. This story arc is beautifully structured around various decades of their only son's maturity from a mischievous youth to sensitive but rebellious young man who vents much of his frustrations through his artistic talent of painting - a dream his father had to give up after terrible abuse to his hands during imprisonment. Excellent acting from all the the young men playing the son and subtly nuanced work from veterans Joan Chen and Sun Halyung co-starring as the parents rooted in tradition. Lovingly directed by Zhang who obviously used many real-life encounters as framework for the screenplay he helped write. A must-see for anyone demanding more from their dramatic films!