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China · 1999
Rated PG-13 · 1h 32m
Director Zhang Yang
Starring Zhu Xu, Quanxin Pu, Jiang Wu, He Zeng
Genre Comedy, Drama

An aged father and his younger, mentally challenged son have been working hard every day to keep their bathhouse running for a motley group of regular customers. When his elder son, who left years ago to seek his fortune in the southern city of Shenzhen, abruptly returns one day, it once again puts under stress the long-broken father-son ties.

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What are people saying?

Minh Bui Profile picture for Minh Bui

This film becomes truly remarkable when placed within the context of its production-- when Zhang Yang's Shower was released, China was undergoing a period of sweeping cultural reforms, replacing the old with the new, sometimes at the cost of history. In this context, Shower is much more than a family drama, it is a dispute between different generations, a struggle between tradition and modernity. The film is slow-paced and quiet, which sets up the perfect atmosphere for reflection.

What are critics saying?


Philadelphia Inquirer by Carrie Rickey

Told in a leisurely though concise 92 minutes, Shower is a purifying and refreshing spray of hope that family and lifestyle differences can be reconciled. Lovely.


Chicago Reader by Jonathan Rosenbaum

Writers Liu Fen Dou and Cai Xiang Jun and director Zhang Yang move freely and gracefully between fantasy and reality in this sentimental film, which never becomes as trite or calculated as you might fear.


Austin Chronicle by Marc Savlov

Above all, it's a satisfying, almost restful work, as welcome in this less-than-thrilling cinematic summer as a cool soak on a hot summer's day.


Chicago Tribune by Michael Wilmington

The beauties of Shower lie in its human observation, in its funny interplay, candor, lusty acting and hearty simplicity - and also in its warm imagery and the fascinating symbolic use it makes of water.

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