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Film / A Gentle Night

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A Gentle Night is a short film (14 minutes) from China, directed by Qiu Yang.

It centers on a worried mother named Cai Zhuo. Her daughter Ding Lin, 13 years old, never came home from school. Cai is frantic over the child she affectionately calls "Linlin". The police seem to think that Linlin is a runaway and Linlin's father, Cai's husband, doesn't seem all that worried. Left to her own devices, Cai searches for Linlin. She soon hears some terrifying news.



  • The Determinator: Cai is determined to find out what happened to her daughter.
  • Imagine Spot: A single shot of a scowling girl, whom Cai imagines to be sitting across from her at a diner, is all we see of Linlin.
  • It's All About Me: The husband doesn't seem to think his daughter's disappearance is a big deal. He grouses about her moving his stuff around, and goes to sleep with ease while Cai is unable to rest.
  • Leave the Camera Running: Except for one shot where the camera follows Cai as she runs down a bridge, the camera never moves. The rest of the movie is a series of static takes, some lasting over two minutes. The scene where she knocks on the schoolteacher's door and tries to physically drag him out of the apartment is done as a 2:10 shot from a camera staged on the other side of the street.
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  • Left Hanging: What happened to Linlin? Is the corpse fished out of the river her? The film ends as Cai sits in the hallway, waiting to find out.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: As her husband crassly reminds her, Linlin disappeared soon after an argument in which Cai hit her. Cai is quite plainly wracked with guilt.
  • New Year Has Come: Chinese New Year. Linlin disappears shortly before the New Year. The New Year strikes and people start shooting off fireworks as Cai desperately tries to get past a police barricade to find out if a body taken out of the river is her daughter.

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