Apart Together

Apart Together  {Tuan Yuan}
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Apart Together
Tuan Yuan
China, 2010, 95 Minute Running Time
Topics: History, Seniors, Women
Program: World Cinema Now
Language: Shanghainese, Mandarin English Sub-Titles

The plot is simplicity itself: former Nationalist soldier Liu Yangsheng (Ling Feng), who had to abandon his pregnant girlfriend Qiao Yu-e (played in the present day by legendary octogenarian Lisa Lu) and flee to Taiwan after the communist takeover in 1949, sends a letter to Qiao Yu-e and her now-extended family (including her current live-in “husband”) announcing that he is returning to Shanghai. The gist of Wang Quanan’s (Tuya’s Marriage, PSIFF 2007) subtle, beautifully written drama is the effect Liu’s return has on all involved—not least Qiao Yu-e herself, who may still be carrying a torch for Liu in her twilight years.

Using a very economical visual style that allows the actors a maximum amount of leeway to put across the screenplay’s delicate emotions, Wang speaks volumes about traditional Chinese ways while contrasting them brilliantly—via Liu’s sight-seeing trips—with the metropolis of modernity that is contemporary Shanghai, the antithesis of the “traditional” in every way imaginable. Winner, Best Screenplay, Berlin Film Festival.

DIRECTOR: Quanan Wang
Producer: Wang Quan An, Wang Le, Du Daning, Wang Zhangliang, Ouwen, Ruan Yusheng
Screenwriter: Na Jin, Quanan Wang
Cinematographer: Lutz Reitemeier
Music: Nina Peng
Principal Cast: Lisa Lu, Ling Feng, Xu Caigen, Monica Mo, Ma Xiaoqing
Filmography: Weaving Girl (2009), Tuya’s Marriage (2006), The Story of Ermei (2004), Lunar Eclipse (1999)

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