If English speakers recognise the name Liu Zhenyun, it’s probably because of his connection to superstar director Feng Xiaogang. The best-selling novelist has written or had his work adapted for multiple movies by the director, including Cell Phone, Back to 1942 and I Am Not Madame Bovary, due out this month after a Government-induced delay. November also sees another adaptation of Liu’s work from a different director: his daughter Liu Yulin.
Someone to Talk to is adapted from Liu Zhenyun’s One Sentence Worth Ten Thousand, which won
the Mao Dun prize for literature in 2011. Fittingly for a movie made by a father-daughter team, its story also concerns family. Centred around
a man stuck in a failing marriage
and his single older sister, the film (cannily set for a Singles’ Day release) tackles the overbearing loneliness of China’s modern urbanites, often the subjects of
Liu Zhenyun’s novels.
As for Liu Yulin, this is her debut feature, following a well-received short that played at a raft of international lm festivals. Her rst lm looks a bit too restrained to prove a Feng Xiaogang- sized hit, but if it lives up to its source it should prove a success among urban Chinese audiences starved for smarter fare and establish her as a talent to watch.
Someone to Talk to is on general release from Fri 11 Nov.