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A Dog Barking at the Moon

Zai jian nan ping wan zhong

This impressive dissection of one Chinese family’s imperfect life gradually reveals discomforting secrets.

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Dir-Scr Xiang Zi
Prod Xiang Zi, José Val Bal
With Naren Hua, Nan Ji, Zhang Xinyue
2019
107min
Prod Co Acorn Studio

Returning to Beijing from New York with her American husband, Huang Xiaoyu is forced to face up to the realities of her family’s life, in which her parents exist in a loveless and toxic marriage. Angry and insecure, her mother has found refuge in a bizarre Buddhist cult, while her father has taken a male lover, a situation his wife refuses to accept; she hopes that her cult’s prophet can cure him. Not only alarmed by her mother’s retreat into pseudo-religion, Xiaoyu is surprised by how much living in the West has changed her own perception of her parents and her outlook on the world. Offering a potent view of how relationships develop and change, and based largely on writer-director Xiang Zi’s personal experiences, this Berlinale Teddy prize-winner is a stylish, rich and compelling film.

Brian Robinson



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