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Award-nominated film opens in cinemas

By Xu Fan | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-12-01 14:39

Actress Narenhua plays a woman suffering from a terminal disease who travels alone to a secluded village to spend her final days. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Sunflower in the Dark, an art-house film that earned two nominations at the 36th Golden Rooster Awards earlier this year, was released on Thursday across domestic theaters.

Unfolding with slow and poetic narration, the movie follows a severely ill woman's return to a remote village where she had encountered her late husband in her youth.

Deciding to spend her final days in peace, she rents a shabby room in a local villager's house. As she immerses herself in the serenity of countryside life, she spends a heartwarming period with the villager, also an established puppet show artist, and his young grandson.

Actress Narenhua and director Li Xu at the Beijing premiere of the art-house film Sunflower in the Dark. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The movie stars ethnic Mongolian actress Narenhua, who has won the best actress award at both the Golden Rooster Awards and the Huabiao Film Awards, two of the country's highest honors in the film industry.

Unlike most movies produced by studios, the film is primarily financed by the Hebei Institute of Communications and had invited teachers from several other universities, including Communication University of China and Beijing Film Academy, to collaborate on its creation.

Director Li Xu, who is currently working as a teacher at Beijing Film Academy, said that the film was shot in a historical village at the foot of the Taihang Mountains in Hebei province.

For the director, who was born in 1994, this movie marks his directorial debut and conveys the idea that when facing dark moments in life, one should confront adversity and live with a positive and optimistic attitude.

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