While the first reports of the Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan are heard on the news, elsewhere in the country Zhang Xiuhua—who is suffering from a different disease—is fighting for her life. The doctors may have given up on her, but her children and grandchildren haven’t, and they’re doing everything possible to keep her with them for a little while longer.
We observe the family in restrained black-and-white as they struggle with their mother’s situation, the economic consequences of the pandemic, and each other. Pride and opposing worldviews ultimately put a strain on relationships between the brothers and sisters—but they still don’t budge from their mother’s side.
Events within the family remain at the forefront, but the viewer repeatedly picks up on moments from the Covid crisis and the restrictions arising from it. In this way the film subtly interweaves a private crisis with a global emergency, and shows their reciprocal effects on a human life, at both micro and macro level.