Gateway | Gateway
Three magnificent actresses, Elaine Jin Yam Ling, Hao Lei, and young Qu Junxi play grandmother, mother, and daughter in Yang Lina’s powerfully intimate story of three generations of Chinese women. Jin is the domineering flamboyant grandma. She adopts a persona of a Party-faithful enthusiast, leading a local patriotic chorus and drumming up neighbourhood moral. But dark currents of despair lurk beneath her orthodox exterior.
Her daughter Jianbo (Hao) is a volcanically repressed journalist, whose social-problem exposés are spiked by her conservative editor. While Jianbo tries to cope with her mother’s rages, her irrepressible daughter Wanting (Qu) provides sparks of free-spirited joy that the household can barely contain. There is dry humour in Jianbo’s attempts to frustrate her mother’s matchmaking (she subverts a dreary first date with the most wicked use of phone messaging you’ve ever seen).
As long-buried traumas rise to the surface, these complex women navigate their way through a home-life that seems on the point of dissolution, one where profound love is often suffused with shocking hostility. Yang Lina portrays these vivid women in a way that has rarely been seen in Chinese (or non-Chinese) cinema.
— Shelly Kraicer