A wistful, charming examination of a shiftless Beijing food critic finally facing past mistakes.
The intricacies of Beijing life have never been as lovingly rendered as they are here in Zhang Lu’s calmly composed, redemptive dramedy. Failed poet but semi-successful food critic Gu Wentong (Xin Baiqing) is facing the existential pangs of mid-life crisis. Dealing with divorce, the passing of his mother and part-time parenthood, he is drawn from his malaise through a hesitant, quirky romance with younger photographer Ouyang (Huang Yao) and the unexpected chance to reunite with his long-estranged, and mysteriously disgraced, father. The backstreets, small bars and pagodas (including the landmark giving the film its title) of China’s capital are framed with delicate and confident precision as Gu embarks on an affecting search for reconnection not only with the others around him, but also himself.
“A poignant drama of people seeking a connection.” (Screen Daily)
“A contemplative film of quiet rewards.” (The Hollywood Reporter)
“The warmth of Piao Songri’s photography is a constant, as is his facility for the offbeat framing of even the most everyday encounter.” (Variety)
This film is co-presented in partnership with the Adelaide Festival Centre’s OzAsia Festival