12 April 2007 | cudas
One of the most remarkable cinema debuts of the decade
Breathingly remarkably fresh life into a hackneyed-sounding plot, Taking Father Home announces the arrival of a terrific new film-making talent. Filmed for almost nothing with a borrowed camera and featuring a cast almost entirely made up of friends and relatives of Ying (in China, as in Japan and other East Asian countries, surnames come first) and his producer/creative-partner Peng Shan, Taking Father Home is the story of a teenager (Xu Yun) from a remote village who travels to the big city of Zigong with no money and a brace of ducks in a basket on his back. His mission: to find and retrieve his errant father, who walked out on his family six years before.
Yun learns an awful lot very quickly once he arrives in Zigong, as there's no shortage of mentor-figures eager to impart advice. His is a compelling quest, and we're with him every step of the way thanks to Ying's remarkable evocation of Zigong's sights, smells and sounds: if this weren't enough, he somehow manages to express the mood and character of an entire culture with just the simplest of touches and what seems to be the most basic of dialogue. By the end, Taking Father Home has become an utterly engaging emotional experience, and Ying has established himself as one of world cinema's promising young talents. You'll be hearing much more of and from him in years to come.