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A First Farewell – Watch the trailer for Wang Lina’s Berlinale winner

New York-based distributor Cheng Cheng has released the new US poster and trailer for A First Farewell by Wang Lina. The winner of the Best Film award at Berlinale’s Generation Kplus will start playing in virtual cinemas in select cities on February 19th and roll to more locations in the following weeks. The filmmaker Wnag Lina spent four years documenting the protagonist’s life in her hometown Xinjiang, delivering an awe-inspiring debut about the joys of growing up as Uyghurs on the picturesque land and the emotional costs of assimilating into the prosperous mainstream.

Wang Lina’s experimental debut explores the sensitivity shared by narrative filmmaking and documenting reality, unveiling poetry from the minutiae of Uighurs’ life in Xinjiang like none other. Tailing an endearing boy named Isa in Shaya, her heavenly home village surrounded by textured sand dunes and millennia-old trees, she tugs viewers’ heartstrings with a story about treasures in his carefree childhood and how they gradually fade away, as love, home, and personal advancement get weighed against another for this generation of minority children, who must bid many farewells to assimilate into the more widely acknowledged best life.

Aside from newcomer Wang Lina’s true-to-life writing and direction, top-notch technical works from cinematographer Li Yong, editor Matthieu Laclau (A Touch of Sin), and sound designer Li Danfeng (Long Day’s Journey into Night) solidify the gem praised by press as “another sign of independent cinema revival in China”. Since premiering at Berlinale, it has been bagging awards from festivals around the world, including Asian Future Best Film from Tokyo International Film Festival, Best Film Firebird Award from Hong Kong International Film Festival, and Best Filmmaker from Shanghai International Film Festival. In the US, it has also won love from followers of Asian cinema at top specialty festivals such as New York Asian Film Festival and San Diego Asian Film Festival.

“Wang Lina’s aesthetic filmmaking shatters the worn-out lenses often looked through at minorities, be it “modernity versus tradition”, “urban versus rural”, or “religion versus ideology”. The spontaneous expressions she captured from the endearing Uyghur children inspire viewers to truly see the community she deeply cares about from their innocent eyes. Their tearful goodbyes to carefree happiness and efforts to live up to mainstream standards are especially relatable after a turbulent year. We look forward to sharing with the audience this artistically accomplished film from a young and dedicated talent. Hope they’ll enthusiastically support our friends at cinemas whose work has always supported us.” stated by the distributor.

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