WINTER AFTER WINTER
During World War II, as northeastern China suffers under Japanese occupation, patriarch Lao Si urgently wants his lineage to continue. Because his eldest son is impotent, he orders his two younger sons to impregnate his mute daughter-in-law, Kun. The middle son refuses and runs away, while the younger son agrees to do his father's bidding. Before it can come to that, however, the two remaining sons are captured by Japanese soldiers. Aided by his eldest brother, who is killed in the process, the youngest manages to escape. Back at their father's house, he hides in the cellar. Only Kun knows about his return and takes care of him. After they spend the night together, the desired pregnancy occurs. But as the war draws to a close, this turn of events creates new challenges for the family — especially when the middle son returns home. The hardship of war forces the family to do desperate things. Director Jian Xing makes clear that the war alone does not excuse the men's behavior, which results from fear, traditional thinking, and pride. The director, trained as a painter and calligrapher, approaches his characters and their surroundings carefully and with a sharp eye in well-composed black-and-white imagery.
Supported by Confucius Institute Headquarters, and in cooperation with Pingyao International Film Festival
Meet the director
Born in northern China's Liáoníng province in 1985, Jian Xing learned to paint at a very young age. He later graduated from the Meishi Film Academy at Chongqing University with a degree in photography. His first feature-length film, SEVEN DAYS (2015), was named best artistic contribution at the Montreal World Film Festival in 2015. WINTER AFTER WINTER (2018) is his second full-length motion picture.