Synopsis by Mark Deming
In this low-key drama from China, Lai Shuang Yang (Tao Hong) is a single woman in her mid-thirties who runs a small restaurant in Chongqing. Shuang Yang's cool and confident demeanor masks the fact that she's become an emotional wreck. After the death of her mother, Shuang Yang raised her younger brother Jiujiu, only to see him fall into drug addiction. Mei (Yang Yi), Shuang Yang's assistant at the restaurant, has fallen into a deep depression over Jiujiu's addiction, and has attempted suicide. Shuang Yang's sister-in-law, Xiaojin (Pan Yueming), has little interest in her son Duo'er and usually leaves him with Shuang Yang, who developed a close attachment with the boy when she wet-nursed him after he was born. And there's talk that a redevelopment project will close down the market district where Shuang Yang has her restaurant, forcing her to either move or close down. In the midst of all this, Zhuo Xiongzhou (Tao Zeru), a middle-aged businessman who has been quietly dining at Shuang Yang's restaurant for over a year, finally works up the nerve to talk to her, and after going out for a drink with him, she finds herself pondering the prospect of a romantic relationship for the first time in years. As she juggles work and her personal crises with her new love life, Shuang Yang also takes steps toward reclaiming a house that her family lost during the upheaval of the Cultural Revolution. Shenghuo Xiu received its North American premier at the 2002 Montreal Film Festival.
brother, China, drug-addiction, restaurant, sister-in-law, suicide-attempt