Directed by Wang Xiaoshuai
Official Selection, 2011 Toronto International Film Festival
Official Selection, 2011 Busan International Film Festival
Official Selection, 2012 International Film Festival Rotterdam
Without much ado, Wang Xiaoshuai has emerged in the last 10 years as one of China’s most decorated and respected filmmakers, picking up hardware at seemingly all the major European festivals. He’s done it largely through no-nonsense, effective, and street smart films about modern China. In other words, he’s a lot like the adorable 11-year-old at the center of 11 FLOWERS: a headstrong, genial kid who makes do during the Cultural Revolution without much fuss, but with true conviction.
No surprise then that the kid, Wang Han, is based on Wang Xiaoshuai and his memories growing up in those waning years of social turmoil. As with Jiang Wen’s seminal In the Heat of the Sun, 11 FLOWERS looks at the Cultural Revolution as a memory, not a history lesson or an ideological tract. There are games between schoolmates, scoldings from parents, and worlds to discover. There’s a tale about wanting a new shirt, only to have it stolen. And there’s a Dickensian adventure about meeting a runaway criminal.
The Cultural Revolution in the contemporary Chinese imagination is fractured through these sorts of wistful memories – through nostalgia, coming-of-age, and individual experience. The memory that is 11 FLOWERS is a beautiful, vivid, and at times funny one that never takes its eye off the social violence just beyond the frame. –Brian Hu
Cast: Liu Wenquing, Wang Jingchun, Yan Ni