Dearest (qin Ai De)

Celebrated director and producer Peter Ho-sun Chan follows last year’s Chinese smash American Dreams in China with a distinct change of tone in this scaled-back, deeply moving drama about child abduction.

The lives of Tian Wen-jun (Bo Huang) and his exwife Lu Xiao-juan (Lei Hao) are thrown into turmoil when their young son goes missing. Wracked with guilt because it happened on his watch, Wen-jun embarks on a quest to find him. Enduring several years of false sightings, they finally find their son living with a foster mother (Wei Zhao), but their troubles are far from over.

Drawing on true stories from the parents of kidnapped children, Chan and writer Zhang Ji explore three distinct experiences: the guilt of having ‘lost’ a child; the difficulty of reintegrating a child who is subsequently found; and the discovery that an adopted child has been abducted. The storytelling is inflected with subtle observations about class, contemporary values and the difference between city and rural life. Featuring excellent performances from its stellar Chinese cast.

Clare Stewart BFI London Film Festival

Please note that the festival is for over 18s only