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A real story forgotten, a reel story remembered

By Liu Wei (China Daily)

08:38, May 07, 2012

Director Wang Xiaoshuai recalls the afternoon his father taught him to paint in Guizhou's provincial capital Guiyang, where his family had been sent as the government moved its military production to Central and West China.

He included the scene in his latest work, 11 Flowers, a loosely autobiographical film to commemorate 1976. He was 11 years old that year.

His mother was an engineer in a factory that produced military periscopes, so the family were relocated from Shanghai.

His father left the Shanghai Theater Academy to work in a small Peking Opera troupe.

Many shared the fate of Wang's family from the mid-1960s through the '70s. They were relocated from big cities to such places as Sichuan, Guizhou and Yunnan provinces.

Some never returned.

The 47-year-old director hopes to record the history that's little known to younger audiences.

Wang sets the story in a factory deep in Sichuan's mountains and reveals the lives of these migrants through the eyes of four 11-year-old boys.

Wang says the thing he remembers most about growing up was the distance from the outside world. The factory was a micro-society in itself. The migrants and their children rarely interacted with the locals.

In the film and in Wang's experience, they would alleviate their homesickness by singing in Shanghai dialect after dinner.


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