Chinese filmmaker Lin Jianjie’s debut feature “Brief History of a Family,” which is being sold by Films Boutique, has debuted its trailer (below), following its world premiere in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition section of the Sundance Film Festival.
The film, which will make its European premiere in the Panorama program of the Berlin Film Festival, was received warmly by Variety critic Carlos Aguilar. In the review, Aguilar says the suspenseful drama was “elevated by its consistent visual inventiveness.” He adds that although at first it seems to be the story of a “cunning infiltrator wreaking havoc in an unsuspecting household,” it then “reveals itself as a tale of wish fulfillment for everyone involved.” Aguilar says that it is this approach which “turns Lin’s debut into an engrossing brain-tickler.”
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The drama is put in motion by an incident at the high school attended by Wei, an outgoing only son from a middle-class family, and Shuo, his quiet, perceptive classmate. Wei soon introduces his friend to his father, a cell biologist, and his mother, a former flight attendant.
Learning that Shuo comes from a troubled background, Wei’s parents welcome this boy to spend more time in their home. Slowly integrating himself into Wei’s family life, Shuo discovers that their comfortable existence is shadowed by unspoken secrets, unmet expectations, and untended emotions.
A tragic incident further complicates their lives, putting past wounds and present anxieties under the microscope.
The film is written and directed by Lin. Producers are Ying Lou, Yue Zheng and Yiwen Wang. The director of photography is Jiahao Zhang. The production designer is Yao Xu. The editor is Per K. Kirkegaard. Music is by Toke Brorson Odin. The key cast are Feng Zu, Keyu Guo, Xilun Sun and Muran Lin.
Lin, a Beijing-based filmmaker, received his MFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. His short films “A Visit” (2015) and “Gu” (2017) were screened at many international film festivals.
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