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Ma Xiaoping’s Summer

Zhong Chen

Release year: 2017

Run time: 76 mins

Film type: Experimental fiction film


Ma Xiaobing is an unemployed urban youth who relies on the rental income from his parents' property to sustain his life. When his parents were alive, they divorced due to his father's domestic violence, and they were subsequently buried in different places. Ma Xiaobing often dreams of reuniting his parents and decides to relocate their graves together. His mother is buried in her hometown in the countryside, and Ma Xiaobing repeatedly approaches his maternal uncle, who is the head of the family, to discuss the relocation. However, his uncle strongly opposes the idea. The land in the village where his uncle resides has been expropriated and handed over to a developer to build a chemical factory. However, the compensation offered to the villagers for the forced relocation falls far short of their demands. The villagers collectively refuse to move, prompting the developer to hire a criminal organization to harass and threaten them. Under the organization led by Ma Xiaobing's uncle, the villagers tenaciously resist the developer's coercive actions. Despite Ma Xiaobing's repeated requests, his uncle refuses to relocate the graves. Frustrated, Ma Xiaobing takes a desperate move and, one night, armed with tools, he goes to the cemetery to dig up his mother's ashes and bring them to be buried alongside his father. Unexpectedly, the villagers, who were patrolling spontaneously that night, mistake Ma Xiaobing for a thug hired by the developer. A conflict ensues when they believe he is desecrating their ancestors' graves, and the villagers beat Ma Xiaobing to death with shovels. Afterwards, his uncle and other key villagers are arrested, and the resistance of the villagers collapses. In the end, Ma Xiaobing and his parents are finally buried together, reuniting the family.


Director biography

Xinzhong Chen, also known as Zhong Chen in English, was born in Chengdu, Sichuan, China in the 1970s. He graduated from the Department of Engineering Mechanics at Tsinghua University in China, earning a Bachelor's degree in Engineering. In the 1990s, fueled by his passion for photography and videography, he made a career change and joined Chengdu TV station. In 1998, he was awarded a full assistantship from Temple University's film department in the United States, which enabled him to pursue comprehensive film education. In 2003, he earned an MFA degree in film production. Zhong Chen's works have been selected for more than 100 international film festivals and have garnered numerous awards. He has been invited to deliver lectures at various esteemed universities in the United States, including Northwestern University, Stanford University, University of Paris VII in France, Lund University in Sweden, and several universities in China. Furthermore, he has served as a guiding lecturer at the Odense International Short Film Festival's master class in Denmark. Currently, he resides in Chengdu, China, and works as a freelancer.