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From Asia with Love Film Series : From Asia, With Love

The Piano in a Factory


2010, Zhang Meng, China, 106 min.
With Wang Qian-yuan, Quin Hai-lu

Show Times

  • Tue, Mar 10th 6:00pm
Plays In: From Asia, With Love

"A charming, light-hearted film which in places is laugh-out-loud funny."—Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

Something of a fictional counterpart of Jia Zhang-ke's classic documentary 24 CITY, this poignant comedy centers on the quiet desperation and scrappy resilience of workers left stranded in the wake of economic reform. Set in a decaying industrial city in Northern China (but relevant to Rust Belts everywhere), the story centers on Guilin (Wang), a former steel worker who now plays the accordion in a ragtag band while caring for his young daughter, a talented pianist in need of a piano. When his long-absent wife turns up demanding a divorce and child custody, Guilin determines that the only chance he has of holding onto his beloved child is to build her a piano from scratch. He gathers together some of his former co-workers, and, taking over the now-abandoned factory, they team up to make a piano—out of steel, no less. Director Wang employs a freewheeling style to inject the film's bleak, rubble-strewn environment with doses of wistful fantasy, slapstick comedy, and energetic musical numbers. In Mandarin with English subtitles. 35mm. (MR)

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