Family, The

Monumental, dizzying, complex, contradictory: this is modern China.

Seeking to reconnect with their children, elderly couple Liu and Deng embark on a sprawling cross-country journey – and in the process they bear witness to the many contradictions of contemporary China. From the villages of their youth through to the industrial metropolises of the future, they encounter a nation in transition, torn between the weight of tradition and the irresistible forces of modernity and capitalism.

Opening the Critics Week section at this year’s Venice Film Festival, The Family is Chinese-Australian filmmaker Liu Shumin’s grandly ambitious directorial debut, shot entirely on 35mm. A quiet domestic drama that paints a vast portrait of contemporary China, The Family is a precisely observed, profoundly personal survey of a nation and a people in flux.