“In 2011, Cai took his two sons to his workplace, a factory in Fuming, where he worked as a stone caster, and found a school for them. Ever since, they have been living in a hut owned by the fac- tory, with only one bed. We began filming their life on February 2nd 2014. On the morning of the 6th, we received threats from the boss and had to stop filming.” (Wang Bing)
Father and Sons is composed almost entirely of a handful of fixed long shots in the dirt-floored hut of a Chinese migrant worker and his sons. This is an exploration of place, youth, attention and distraction. As day turns to dusk, natural light recedes and shadows lengthen in the room; shifts barely registering with its inhabitants. A television’s din and the glow of a cell phone enrapture the eyes and fingers of two boys.
“The film is an exercise in time and waiting, as we watch the protagonists watch the off-screen TV, mirroring one screen with another. For some, Father and Sons might be read as a long, arduous audience experience where nothing really happens. But when subjected to closer scrutiny, it’s a compelling nuanced exercise in pure observation where ardour becomes empathy with the frame as a simple window onto a complex reality.” (Justin Jaeckle)