Synopsis by Sandra Brennan
For those with a voyeuristic bent comes this gritty Chinese docudrama, from controversial filmmaker Zhang Yuan, that chronicles the alcohol-induced destruction of a family. The story features actual members of the Li family--Zhang's downstairs neighbors in a Beijing apartment. To make this film, the father, Li Maojie, was given permission to leave the mental asylum where he was committed. The husband and wife meet as professional ballroom dancers. Li's father is an alcoholic, and soon after the marriage begins drinking heavily. Many fights ensue and things get worse when the couple's sons also begin to drink heavily. The mother Fu Derong is at her wit's end and is desperately unhappy. Eventually Derong and Maojie decide to divorce, but again it is not without great conflict; some of it is sadly funny while some of the conflicts turn violent. Eventually Maojie descends into mental illness and the family is forced to commit him.
alcoholism, family, dysfunctional, divorce