Piano in a Factory
The winter in north east China was even more bitter than usual. Snow was falling incessantly, layered one drift atop the other until the whole city was covered with a white blanket.
Chen plays the harmonica quite well, and in the factory where he used to work he was considered a cultivated man. After losing his job, Chen and his friends form a band that performs at local weddings and funerals and they lead a happy and contented lives. Every ounce of his energy is focused on his daughter studying the piano in the hope that some of his creative genes would be passed on to her. Unfortunately she doesn’t play all that well, partly due to a lack of talent and partly due to the lack a piano to practice on. Regardless of her ineptitude, Chen arranged for his daughter to practice at night in a school where his old colleague Wang works as a security guard. As the sound of the piano echoes through the empty hallways, rumors arise that the school was haunted. When the source of the music is revealed, not only does his daughter lose her only opportunity to practice, but his old friend also loses his job.
One day, Chen’s long separated wife Xiaoju reappears, not only to demand a divorce but also to take away their daughter. When asked where she would rather live, their daughter replies “I will live with whoever can find me a piano” and in a bid to keep his daughter, Chen become determined to buy a piano. However, lacking funds Chen must turn to
alternative measures to obtain the instrument. After a failed plan to steal the piano from the school, Chen and his friends set about to build a piano of their own.
In a quiet corner of the factory Chen begins work on the piano, as the date of the court case to decide with whom his daughter will live fast approaches.
Of all the subjects I’ve had the chance to film, Zhang Bing’ai took the longest to warm up to me and reveal herself. We’d known each other for eight years before she confided to me the story of her life. When riding waters are about to submerge your house and you are burdened by the immense pressure to make final decisions, all the memories of a hard life come raging out like floodwaters breaking through a dam. I was caught in this riptide and I drifted, unable to move at all, enveloped in a story that I felt I had heard before and I shuddered for an instant with the feeling that I had touched her soul. As Bing’ai talked unhesitatingly to the camera in between her busy farm work and heated negotiations with officials, I understood how all her past choices and actions were based on her life experiences.
The 3rd Sydney Chinese Film Festival - Special Jury Choice Award
The 28th Miami International Film Festival - Best International Film Award
The 18th Beijing Student Film Festival - Arts Exploration Award, Best Actress nomination (Qin Hailu) , Best Actor nomination (Grace Wang)
The 14th Shanghai International Film Festival Media Awards - Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Grace Wang), Best Actress (Qin Hailu)
The 28th China Golden Rooster Film Award - Best Feature Film Nomination, Best Director nomination, Best Screenplay nomination, Best Actor nomination (Grace Wang) , best Actress nomination (Qin Hailu)
The 48th Taiwan Golden Horse - nominated for Best Drama, Best Director nomination, Best Original Screenplay nomination, Best Actor nomination (Grace Wang), Best Actress nomination (Qin Hailu), Best Cinematography nomination (Zhoushu Hao ), nominated for Best Original Film Music (Wu Yong Mo)
Chinese pride new list Annual Movie
Love Fantastic Art, Changing Vision Imaging Chinese Annual Festival - Best Actress (Qin Hailu)
Youth Film Handbook - Annual Top Ten Chinese Movie, Annual Actress (Qin Hailu)
The 3rd China Film Directors Guild Award - Best Film nomination, Best New Director nomination, Annual Actor (Grace Wang ), Annual Actress (Qin Hailu )
The 3rd Chinese Screenplay Cup - Excellent Screenplay
The12th Chinese Film Media Awards - Jury Award
Zhang Meng was born in northeastern China. He graduated from the School of Stage Arts in the Beijing Central Academy of Drama and also participated in the film literature workshop at the Beijing Film Academy. Currently, he is director of the Zhang Meng Producer Studios under the Perfect World (Beijing) Pictures Co., Ltd. He is the screenwriter and director of the films Lucky Dog and The Piano in a Factory.