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The Back

Liu Bingjian

Release year: 2010

Run time: 85 minutes

Film type: Fiction


Beijing in the mid-1990s. Hong Tao, aged 30, has moved to the city from the countryside and works in an expensive restaurant. Since the Cultural Revolution, he has carried with him a strange secret. His father, a famous painter of Mao’s portrait, was obsessed with the leader’s appearance. As a result, he started tattooing images of Mao on human skins. Hong Tao, oppressed by this inheritance, has tried to hide it. But a new wave of unscrupulous antique collectors will do anything to lay their hands on it …


Director biography

Training first as a painter, Liu Bingjian then studied cinematography at the Beijing Film Academy. After graduation he worked in television before making his first film as a director—Inkstone—which screened neither in China nor overseas.

In 1999 he made the independent LGBTQ film Men and Women, a rare example for the time of a film that treated homosexuality as an everyday condition.

In 2002, Liu made Cry Woman. Then he made the officially approved Plastic Flowers (2004), which starred actress Liu Xiaoqing in her first role in over a decade. The film premiered at the 2004 Toronto International Film Festival.