Sunflower (2005 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Sunflower Poster.jpg
Directed byZhang Yang
Produced byHan Sanping
Peter Loehr
Yang Buting
Written byCai Shangjun
Huo Xin
Zhang Yang
StarringSun Haiying
Joan Chen
Liu Zifeng
Zhang Fan
Gao Ge
Wang Haidi
Music byLin Hai
CinematographyJong Lin
Edited byYang Hongyu
Distributed byFortissimo Films
Release date
  • September 10, 2005 (2005-09-10) (Toronto)
Running time
129 minutes

Sunflower (Chinese: 向日葵; pinyin: Xiàng rì kúi) is a 2005 Chinese film directed by Zhang Yang. Zhang's fourth film, Sunflower is a joint production of Ming Productions, the Beijing Film Studio (as part of the China Film Corporation's 4th Production Company) and the Hong Kong subsidiary of the Netherlands-based Fortissimo Films. It was distributed by Fortissimo Films and New Yorker Films (US theatrical distribution).[1]

The film stars Sun Haiying and Joan Chen as a husband and wife, and the actors Zhang Fan, Gao Ge and Wang Haidi as their son over the course of 30 years.


  • Sun Haiying as Zhang Gengnian, a Beijing painter whose spirit is crushed during his time in a labor camp during the Cultural Revolution.
  • Joan Chen as Xiuqing, Zhang Gengnian's wife.
  • Liu Zifeng as Lao Liu, Zhang Gengnian's best friend and fellow artist.
  • Zhang Fan as Zhang Xiangyang, Zhang Gengnian's son as an 8-year-old boy.
  • Gao Ge as Zhang Xiangyang as a 19-year-old man.
  • Wang Haidi as Zhang Xiangyang as a 30-year-old man.
  • Liang Jing as Han Jing, Xiangyang's wife.
  • Hong Yihao as Chicken Droppings, Xiangyang's friend as a 9-year-old boy.
  • Li Bin as Chicken Droppings as a 19-year-old young man.


The film is split into three main segments spanning thirty years. The first segment, in 1976, begins with the return of an artist, Gengnian to his wife, Xiuqing and son after several years of re-education during the Cultural Revolution. He returns however, with injured hands and can no longer continue as an artist. He instead hopes to cultivate artistic aspirations in his son, Xiangyang, who has taken to hurling stones at strangers with his friend Chicken Droppings. Though he eventually follows in his father's footsteps, Xiangyang resents his father's pressure and the two soon fall out.

The next segments, in 1987 when Xiangyang is a 19-year-old, and 1999, when he is in his 30s, continue to chart the course of Xiangyang and Gengnian's tense relationship. It is a moving film depicting the tension between Xianyang and his parents and also the marital relationship between his parents. The sunflower returns throughout the movie as a theme.


Sunflower received its international premiere at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival on September 10, 2005.

The film was also shown at several international film festivals.

Sunflower was also given a limited release in New York City on August 17, 2007.[6] Playing on only one screen, the film has made less than $24,000 dollars in the US as contrasted to over $8 million from foreign releases.[7]


Sunflower was shown at several international film festivals. It ultimately won the Silver Shell for Best Director and the Jury Award for Best Photography at the San Sebastián International Film Festival in 2006.[8]

The film has garnered a 64 "fresh" rating from review database Rotten Tomatoes,[9] and a rating of 64 from Metacritic.[10]


  1. ^ Elley, Derek (2005-09-20). "Sunflower Review". Variety. Retrieved 2007-10-23.
  2. ^ a b c "Release Dates for Xiang Ri Kui". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2007-10-25.
  3. ^ Cho, Ben (May 2006). "When Hou Met Kuriyami: The Hong Kong International Film Festival Turns 30". Senses of Cinema. Archived from the original on 2007-09-13. Retrieved 2007-10-25.
  4. ^ "Films: Sunflower (xianrikui)". Retrieved 2007-10-21.[dead link]
  5. ^ "Pacific Rim Film Festival Schedule". Pacific Rim Film Festival. Archived from the original on July 8, 2008. Retrieved 2007-10-21.
  6. ^ Wallace, Julia (2007-08-14). "Sunflower". The Village Voice. Archived from the original on 2007-09-22. Retrieved 2007-10-29.
  7. ^ "Sunflower (2007)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2007-10-29.
  8. ^ "Sunflower, Publicity". Fortissimo Films. Archived from the original on 2005-01-22. Retrieved 2007-10-29.
  9. ^ "Sunflower". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2007-10-29.
  10. ^ "Sunflower". Metacritic.

External links[edit]