Red Amnesia

New York Premiere
China, 2014
Running Time: 115 minutes
Format: DCP
Language: Mandarin with English Subtitles
Director: Wang Xiaoshuai
Cast: Lu Zhong, Shi Liu, Feng Yuanzheng, Qin Hao, Amanda Qin
Showtimes: Friday, July 3, 12:30pm at Walter Reade Theatre

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On its busy surface, Beijing Bicycle director Wang Xiaoshuai’s latest film chronicles the hurtful sidelining of an elderly widow, the recently widowed Mrs. Deng (Lu Zhong). Bossy and lonely, she spends her retirement days taking care of her house and pestering her grown-up children, who don’t seem to want her around anymore. The elder son Jun (Feng Yuanzheng) is a successful family man, and in many ways the perfect billboard for the “Chinese Dream”: comfortably living with his wife (Amanda Qin) and their little boy in a nice apartment, driving around in a nice car, and generally enjoying the luxuries and consumerist lifestyle of the global bourgeoisie. The younger son Bing (Qin Hao), gay and rebellious, has a salon and a boyfriend (Han Yibo); his sexuality, unacknowledged by his mother, is cause for tension and resentment. The old lady and her two sons stand as two generations staring at each from across the years, no longer capable of mutual understanding. Thankfully she still finds solace with the ghost of her late husband, who keeps her company.

Beneath the small, everyday hostilities of the family and the hustle and bustle of Beijing life, tragedy is lurking: one day, the humdrum comes to an end with sudden and soon incessant, anonymous phone calls; every time she picks up, no one answers. Relentless, unnerving, the plague of the unidentified phone calls is followed by more physical menace as bricks are thrown at her window and garbage is dumped on her doorstep. Rumors of mysterious murders run wild in the neighborhood. Behind the stalking lie a mysterious tattooed boy, a long-buried secret, and the blood-red shadows of the Cultural Revolution.

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