'Lost In Russia' focuses on Chinese-style mother-child relationship

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, January 19, 2020
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Director Xu Zheng and cast members pose for a group photo at the premiere of "Lost In Russia" held in Beijing, Jan. 17, 2020. [Photo courtesy of Maxtimes Culture]

Actor/director Xu Zheng's new film "Lost In Russia" touches on a Chinese-style mother-child relationship, offering a bittersweet but eventually heartwarming experience to the audience.

Previous installments of the "Lost In..." franchise received a positive market response. "Lost in Thailand" (2012) grossed 1.27 billion yuan in China, while the following one, "Lost in Hong Kong" (2015), took in 1.61 billion yuan at the box office. In 2018, Xu produced and starred in the drama film "Dying to Survive," reaching a new peak with 3.1 billion yuan in revenue, a high critic rating and plenty of accolades.

"Lost In Russia" is a comedy-drama displaying what Xu wanted to express concerning his thoughts and understanding about life. The director said it is not just a "popcorn blockbuster" to make viewers laugh, but a film to move the audience to tears and reflect on themselves. 

In Chinese, the title is "Jiong Ma" (literally "awkward mother"). The film is about an awkward journey to Russia of a manipulative old mother and her middle-aged son who wanted to rebel and escape. Many elements will resonate with Chinese audiences as it touches on many issues of a certain kind of typical mother-child relationship in China that is either too intimate or estranged, tough and manipulative. Further, it also touches the marriage problems of middle-aged individuals. 

"The film itself is a baptism, rebirth and change for me," Xu Zheng said at the premiere of the film held in Beijing on Friday. "During the filming process, my relationship with my mother has been improving. 

"Every film has its own social value. Many mothers and children are ashamed to express love to each other. How to make sure the love can flow between them through a long journey? That was my first intention when filming started. I want to touch people's souls and give them some warmth."

The director said he hoped children could hug their parents after seeing this family drama.

"Lost In Russia" also showcased the broad and beautiful scenery of Russia along the railway line. "The cross-border filming is really difficult and complicated, but we made some unprecedented scenes," said Liu Ruifang, the film's producer. "For example, we were filming at Lake Baikal. No Chinese filmmaker had ever done this before."

"Lost In Russia" stars veteran actress Huang Meiying, actress Yuan Quan and actors Guo Jingfei and Jia Bing. It is worth noting that there's a cameo of the late young Chinese-Canadian actor Godfrey Gao, who tragically died at the age of 35 in November 2019 of cardiac arrest while filming a TV show, which shocked the entertainment industry and fans.

The film will hit Chinese screens on Jan. 25, 2020, the Chinese Lunar New Year, joining in a furious box office race with many other blockbusters such as "Detective Chinatown 3" and Jackie Chan's "Vanguard."

A poster of "Lost In Russia" [Photo courtesy of Maxtimes Culture]

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