This documentary shot in splendid rectangular color photography portrays a year in the life of master painter Shen Jianhua, who has relocated from Shanghai to a mountain village called Da Li and runs a painting studio in the company of his wife and teenage daughter. It also portrays the daily routines and hard work of his pupils, with special emphasis placed on a number of elderly women whose canvasses fill the eye. The film moves smoothly between artistic creation and the lived experiences inspiring it, in ways that gracefully calculate art as the sum of observation and representation.
Yang Zhang Zhang Yang was born on March 28, 1967, in Beijing, China. He graduated from the Director's Department of the Central Theatre Academy. His works, including romantic drama ‘Spicy Love Soup’ (1997), road movie comedy ‘Getting Home’ (2007), 'Full Circle' (2012) and powerful drama ‘Sunflower’ (2004), ‘Soul on a String’ (2016), achieved great recognition internationally. His films premiered in and won awards at acclaimed festivals as San Sebastian IFF, the Berlinale, Stockholm FF and Tokyo IFF. Zhang Yang has moved into documentary film making, with 'Paths of the Soul' (2015) as his first feature documentary, which premiered in Toronto IFF.