Girls Always Happy

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China | 2018 | 117 minutes | Mingming Yang

In her bitingly funny feature debut, filmmaker Yang Mingming plays a young college graduate stuck living at home with her mother, where parent and child exchange increasingly sarcastic barbs about everything from marriage to money to table manners, without realizing that they are much more alike than they care to admit.

"Girls Always Happy is unflinching in its exploration of a difficult parent-child dynamic, benefitting from intricate performances from the two leads" Sarah Ward - ScreenDaily

"The only debt that can't be repaid in this world is a mother's love." That sounds like a nice sentiment, but not when it's used as a guilt-inducing barb in the middle of an argument between mother and daughter. Deep within one of Beijing's remaining hutong neighborhoods—one of narrow alleys and courtyard houses that seem lost in time amidst the ever-modernizing city—live Wu (writer/director Yang Mingming) and her mother (Nai An). Both are writers—a screenwriter and a poet, respectively—but neither has anything to show for it other than financial and emotional precariousness. Wu's father having long since gone, every aspect of this pair's mutual hostility seems to come from their seeming disappointment with the hand life has dealt them. As Wu navigates a relationship with a divorced film professor, and mother struggles to take care of Wu's ever-weakening grandfather in the hopes of being written into his will, the two do their best to stay afloat, but their circumstances pit them against each other just when they most need affection and understanding. And yet this film finds endless moments of comedy, camaraderie, and love, painting a perfect and universal picture of the complexity of family. A bittersweet debut feature from Yang, Girls Always Happy is a bracingly honest film about the many roles women must play in society.

Director Biography
Yang Mingming was born in 1987 and graduated from National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts. She directed, photographed, and starred in her short debut Female Directors, which showed her capacity to adopt subversive creative concept and photography skills, as well as her success to seamlessly suture hyper-real performance with the fictional plot. Female Directors marked the new creativity of young directors. It was one of the top ten Chinese independent films in 2012, and showcased in youth film festivals both home and aboard. In 2015, she edited Yang Chao's feature film Crosscurrent, which won the Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution. Girls Always Happy is the first artistic feature written, directed and performed by Yang Mingming, with Yang Chao the executive producer, and Yang Jing the producer.

Sponsored by Aegis Gardens, Hainan Airlines, WASA North America Group

  • Original Language Title: Rou Sing Shi
  • Director: Mingming Yang
  • Principal Cast: An Nai, Mingming Yang, Xianmin Zhang, Qinqin Li, Wei Huang
  • Premiere Status: North American
  • Country: China
  • Year: 2018
  • Running Time: 117 minutes
  • Producer: Jing Yang
  • Screenplay: Mingming Yang
  • Cinematographers: Xiaomin Shen
  • Editors: Mingming Yang
  • Music: Fang Tao
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Awards: Hong Kong International Film Festival 2018 (FIPRESCI Prize, Firebird Award)
  • Filmography: Debut Feature Film
  • Language: Mandarin
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP
  • International Sales: Parallax Films