A First Farewell

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A First Farewell (Di yi ci de li bie)

Directed by Lina Wang

  • China 2018; 86 min
  • Original version: Uyghur, Mandarin
  • Genre: Drama
    • Grand Prix Generation Kplus - Berlinale Generation
    • Firebird Award (Young Cinema Competition - Chinese Language) - Hong Kong IFF


Deep in northwestern China, surrounded by cotton fields and desert, lies the Uyghur village that Isa calls home. When he is not at school or working on his parents‘ farmyard, he spends carefree days with his friends – until the outside world starts forcing him to say one goodbye after another. With Isa’s mother‘s illness placing an increasing burden on the family, his father considers putting her in a care home, far away from the village. Isa‘s best friend Kalbinur is getting bad grades, and is about to be sent to a faraway Chinese school. And then the little lamb, which the two children had been looking after with devotion ever since it was born, disappears. Captured in naturalistic imagery, winter closes in on Isa‘s world.

Director's Statement

A First Farewell is a text that the character learned in class. I use it as the title to symbolize growth. Those delicate portrayal of childhood scenes structure the film, daily life changes brought growth to children, and also constitute the main line of the film.
All the lines are from people’s real action. That is to say, it is a film without a screenplay from the beginning and has sense of reality and authenticity. To achieve this kind of feeling, the way we made the film was quite special. After one year’s field research, we used the documentary-style method to make the shots for another year. We have set some scenes with the possibilities in their lives but also we didn’t break the balance of people and their real life, whether in A Pa which was a full-screen naturalism documentary or in people’s real life, to get a unique documentary-style feature film. In a sense, the film is a re-modeling of normal life which exposed to a view of original ecology. It shows a deep exploration of noumenon itself and make a perfect combination of documentary and feature film.
Anyhow, A FIRST FAREWELL is a film about childhood, about a time that everyone has in the beginning of their lives, about a memory that I cherish most. I hope the film can keep the most unforgettable time on the screen and lead us back to pick our pure human heart.




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    Patrick Mao Huang