As the head of a family that has had an active role in the Bejing Opera for generations, a man spends the last years of his life with his pet bird, wandering the town where he lives and practicing opera in the streets. The man holds resentment towards his son who abandoned the family tradition of representing the art form, and his bird constantly repeats his hurt sentiments. However, his son may be closer by then he thinks and despite the emotional scars, there is still a lot of love shared between the two. As the short film states before the credits roll, the film “Is dedicated to those intransigent parents and children that love each-other.”

It’s Winter Now” is screening at the
Winter Film Awards International Film Festival

At a run-time of just under 14 minutes, “It”s Winter Now” does a good job of setting a strong visual style, which is more akin to bigger budgeted feature length productions. The locations are well chosen and bring a lot of visual variety. Complimenting this, each shot is well framed, and matches well to the tone the film is trying to capture. Most notably, there are a few funny moments that are punctuated nicely by good framing and timing.

Lin Qi, found a great lead in Sun Wei, who plays up to the role of grumpy “curmudgeon” as he is able to be a strong (arguably stubborn), character that manages to stay sympathetic. The part could have easily gone into the realm of parody or mockery under a different lead or poor direction. The script is pretty well packed with content by utilizing intelligent, emotional storytelling. Although the production is light on dialogue, the characters become well established through their actions.

Within the short film format, it is often hard to establish an endearing story when constricted by time limits. For this reason, the short films that normally stand out in my mind exist in the comedy or horror genre, as it is easier to set up shock or humor without too much build. “It’s Winter Now” exceeded my expectations by packing an emotional punch that successfully establishes sympathetic characters within it’s short run time. With the highlight for me being the final “emotional sting”, that packs a surprising strong punch off the back of a short story. Lin Qi’s narrative is backed by an obvious understanding of the emotional vulnerabilities of her subjects. Complimented by sharp visuals, good performances and a strong narrative “It’s Winter Now” is an engaging short that hopefully acts as a launching point towards a feature length production for director Lin Qi.

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