Suddenly, Siyi Chen is unable to reach her mother. The daughter suspects there’s something amiss, and travels from America to the small town in China where she was born. It turns out her mother wasn’t on vacation as she had claimed, but had had an operation. A tumor was removed, and it was malignant.
Why didn’t Siyi’s mother tell her she had cancer? This is just the first in a long list of questions, in this tender feature-length debut in which mother and daughter examine their relationships with illness, with death, and with each other. While they start talking for the first time about their feelings and fears, a broader picture emerges of the toll that life as a healthcare professional can take.
The filmmaker grew up at the local hospital where her mother is a doctor. Her mother hid her emotions behind a mask of rational calm—a mask that she passed on to her daughter. But now it seems some limits have been reached.
Nominated for IDFA Award for Best First Feature