An intensely personal film about the destructive influence on a Chinese family of the one-child policy, which was introduced in 1979. Filmmaker Louis Hothothot (Louis Yi Liu) was born in China in 1986, as an “illegal” second child. The authorities punished his parents with a fine equal to three times the annual salary of his father, whose career was also torpedoed.
The devastating consequences of his birth left Louis with a festering sense of guilt, and in his 20s he left for Amsterdam. Now, five years after last seeing his parents and sister, he visits them to unravel the family history.
Wielding his camera with sometimes intimidating effect, Louis forces them to confront their traumatic past, one that hides yet another ordeal. He probes them with sharp questions and remarks to drag them out of a distressing past. It’s painful, but necessary, because “if memories are frozen in the past, what can dissolve the pain?”