Li Qiming, an aging country schoolteacher, returns for the first time in 40 years to the sprawling metropolis of Wuhan in central China. He's looking for his estranged son, whom his cancer-stricken wife wants to see again before dying. His daughter, Yanhong, also lives in Wuhan, but although she had led him to think she had found a good job in the city, in fact she works as a "hostess" in a karaoke bar, and her employer, a former convict turned businessman, has made her his mistress.
With the help of a kindly policeman about to retire, Li Qiming follows one trail after another, all the while reconnecting with his long-neglected daughter.
This film provides examples of:
- Completely Different Title: The original title literally translates as "River City Summer Days".
- Country Mouse: Li Qiming is very much a Fish out of Water in the big city. He still addresses people as "Comrade", a habit that fell out of favor decades ago, and is shocked by the crass materialism of urban life.
- Karaoke Box: The place where Yanhong works provides these to customers, along with hostesses who can be rented out for the night.
- Need a Hand, or a Handjob?: When Li Qiming shows up at the karaoke bar asking for Yanhong, the staff assume he's a customer, and another girl volunteers to go with him instead.
- Posthumous Character: Li Qiming's son.
- Screaming Birth
- Title Drop: "It's a luxury car..."
- Vomit Discretion Shot: The first time Yanhong has a bout of Morning Sickness. The second time around, it's a Vomit Indiscretion Shot, as well as when her inebriated father regurgitates his dinner.