PODCAST| Sarah Bradbury interviews Wang Xiaoshuai, director of the film So Long, My Son.
To listen to the interview, click on the ► icon on the right, just above the picture
Chinese film director Wang Xiaoshuai spoke with us about the capturing three decades of his country’s history through a personal tale of loss in his film So Long, My Son. He shared how he worked with Wang Jingchun and Yong Mei, who play husband and wife, Yaojun and Liyun to elicit incredibly empathetic performances, his approach of using a non-chronological timeline and filming in a very naturalistic way and how the film explores grief, trauma but also leaves a sense of hope, set against the socio-economic evolution of China.
So Long, My Son: “We are waiting to grow old.” A bitter sentence summarizing the truth of life of Yaojun and his wife Liyun in a nutshell. Once upon a time, they were a happy family until their son drowned while playing at the dam of a dam. Yaojun and Liyun leave home, dive into the big city, where they know no one and they do not even understand the dialect of the inhabitants. Even adopted son Liu Xing does not bring the hoped for comfort. Defiantly he refuses the “foreign” parents and disappears one day completely. Time and again, the spouses are caught up in their memories and finally return to the place of lost hopes. The family drama encompasses three decades of Chinese history. The private and the political merge, the individual gets into the gear of a society in permanent change. Thus, the film leads from the emergence of the Cultural Revolution in the 1980s to the prosperous turbo-capitalism of the present, and at the same time it is time criticism and melodrama. In large tableaus, he makes the deep scars visible beneath the surface of a seemingly unbroken success story.