So Long, My Son takes place over three decades in a period defined by the one-child policy and cultural upheaval in China. The film follows two families bound together by tragedy: Yajoun and Liyun’s son dies in a drowning accident. The son’s best friend is involved, and sorrow and guilt lead the two families that once were so close to become estranged. So Long, My Son takes us from the 1980s to the present, from north to south in China. It’s an epic narrative that manages to see the one-child policy in a bigger perspective, while at the same time giving an insight into the personal matters and fates of two families.
The leading actor and actress Yong Mei and Wang Jingchun’s performance of sorrow, hope and love make an impression we’re unlikely to forget. Their achievements make the film a modern masterpiece, and Mei and Jingchun won the Silver Bear for Best Actress and Actor during the Berlin Film Festival.