Our Time Machine

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Our Time Machine

Directed by S. Leo Chiang, Yang Sun

  • China 2019; 80 min
  • Original version: Chinese
  • Genre: Drama, Documentary
    • Best Cinematography in a Documentary Feature Film (Yang Sun, Shuang Liang) - Tribeca FF


Chinese artist Maleonn creates elaborate photo tableaus that blend the real and the surreal in ways that echo his own memories. He follows in the artistic footsteps of his parents: his mother was an actress and his father, Ma Ke, was a long time director of the Peking Opera Theater. Maleonn is excited to collaborate with his father on his new project, a theater production of an intricately-designed father and son machine puppet. His father, however, is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and slowly forgetting his past.

Director's Statement

Those who grew up in post-Cultural Revolution China lived through a kind of socio-economic transformation that would have taken another country 100 years to bring about. Today, in a bustling metropolis like Shanghai, it is easy to feel estranged from the thousands upon thousands of strangers we see everyday, but we can also feel that same estrangement within one’s own family. So, when we came across Maleonn and his ageing father, both artists, but who came of age on opposite sides of the Cultural Revolution in China, we made immediate personal connections. We see a story that could be our own in the not-so-distant future. Our film offers an intimate look at a middle-class Chinese family facing issues that audiences around the world can immediately relate to. Our story provides a needed addition to highlight the similarities between people in the West and in China during a time where the political language can be hostile and divisive. We hope this film celebrates the process in which two men reconcile their past feelings and create something together that repairs a distressed part of the fabric of Chinese society.



    Betsy Tsai 

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