The Family

The Family

Dir/Scr: Chen Xihe
Dir: Ye Ming
Orig Story: Ba Jin
Prod Co: Shanghai Film Studio
Cast: Wei Heling, Jiang Rui, Cheng Zhi, Dai Yun, Ma Chi
1956 | B&W | DCP | Putonghua | 125min

Unlike Thunderstorm ending with a total tragedy, Ba Jin's passionate and widely acclaimed Torrent Trilogy depicts how the young generation struggles hard in the feudal family, which has moved countless Chinese youth to change the traditional societal system. Its first volume, Family, has been popular and adapted at least four times, each adaptation being applauded by the general public.

Although Ba Jin was good friends with the director Chen Xihe and had already seen the first and the fourth draft before the shooting of this 1956 film, he later publicly criticised that this adaptation lacked originality and depth. Plus the characterisation was flat and one dimensional. What's more, the mise-en-scène, including the props and the actresses' hairstyle and costume, was not aesthetic.

In Chen's own defense, he was attempting to convey an aura of darkness owing to a corrupt and soulless household portrayed in the novel. His hard work was recognised by some critiques. One of them, Meng Liye, contended that this adaptation has lifelike characters and beautiful framing which echoes with the plot, and considered the film faithful to the original and a masterpiece of realism.

Date Time Venue
14/11/2021 (Sun) 11:00am Cinema, Hong Kong Film Archive

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