One of China’s foremost Sixth Generation directors, Wang Xiaoshuai (Beijing Bicycle, Shanghai Dreams) tells a striking, autobiographical coming-of-age tale set in the final days of China's Cultural Revolution in his new film 11 Flowers.
Eleven-year-old Wang Han lives with his family in a remote village in Guizhou province. Life is tough, but they make the most of what little they have. When Wang is selected to lead his school through their daily gymnastic regimen, his teacher recommends that he wear a clean, new shirt in honor of this important position – a request that forces his family to make a great sacrifice. But one afternoon, soon after Wang is given the precious shirt, he encounters a desperate, wounded man, who takes it from him. The man is on the run, wanted by the authorities for murder. In no time the fates of Wang and the fugitive are intertwined.
Beautifully performed by a troupe of child actors, and vividly creating a sense of time and place, 11 Flowers is a delicate and moving film about growing up in a time of great upheaval.