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Healing Balm

Zhang Ping

Release year: 2017

Run time: 74 mins

Film type: Documentary


An ill father who keeps to himself and a hardworking mother who gathers herbs. Their humble lifestyle in the hills during winter and a home—these are the things that await their middle-age daughter when she returns home for the spring festival. Blessed by daily life, forgotten while living, dead while alive.


Director biography

Zhang Ping was born in Hunan Province in 1978. Between 2000 and 2011 she lived and worked in Tibet, followed by a year in Yunnan Province. Since 2012 she has been based in Beijing working as an independent writer and filmmaker. Her films include No Land (2015), Healing Balm (2017), Love Song of the Living, Love Song of the Dead (2018), and Landscape: Green and White (2018). She has also published two non-fiction books.

Director's statement

I returned to my parents in winter. In an abandoned village, my octogenarian parents live in isolation with their routines, the pain of recollection, and of living in the present. What is the cure? My old mother is my cure. Familial misfortunes have not shattered her, who stood in the barren fields looking for the cure of reality, holding up the decency and pleasure of being. Amidst the ruins my mother sings, pretty, pretty, really pretty. This is the healing balm prescribed to me. Life itself is a bland remedy, in need of an analgesic to treat the putrefication