For CNY 2020, Oscar-nominated Theodore Melfi directs Chinese star Zhou Xun as a taxi driver who loves her daughter but has lost touch with her own mother
Three generations of women reconnect in a lush and emotional Chinese New Year film from Apple. Shot on the iPhone 11 Pro by director Theodore Melfi and DoP Lawrence Sher, the film follows a female taxi driver (played by top star Zhou Xun) who has taken her small daughter to work with her. Over the course of the film it is revealed that she has become estranged from her own mother – while the mother spends every Chinese New Year searching taxis for her daughter.
The film was produced by Brother and Radical Media, with post production by Digital Domain Shanghai. It was coloured by Simon Astbury at MPC LA. Director Theodore Melfi is best known for his work on Hidden Figures, which he directed, produced and co-wrote – the film received Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. Star Zhou Xun is considered to be one of the four most ‘bankable’ actresses in China and is often referred to as one of the ‘Four Dan’ (四旦) for this very reason.
Apple’s emotional Chinese New Year shorts have, over the past few years, become a mainstay of the festive marketing mix. Each film tackles a parent-child relationship and examine what they festival means as a chance for busy, hardworking people to reconnect with their families. And, of course, they’re all shot on iPhone.
Last year’s ‘The Bucket’, directed by Jia Zhangke, was a ‘slow burn story of maternal love’ about a son returning to his life in the city after a Chinese New Year spent with his mother. In 2018, Peter Chan directed a film called ‘Three Minutes’ about a woman who works on an express train from the subtropical south to the frozen north of the country, allowing her little time to spend with her small son.