- The sentimental comedy is currently the fourth best-selling film ever in China
- Audiences are flocking back to the cinema as Covid-19 cases drop
Audiences in China are heading to the cinema to catch a sentimental comedy that has rapidly become one of the country’s most popular films of all time. It also marks a triumphant debut for its female director.
Since its release, Jia Ling’s Hi, Mom has become the fourth best-selling film ever in China with ticket sales of at least 4.3 billion yuan (US $670 million), according to box-office tracker Maoyan.
If it continues its monumental success, Hi, Mom could become the highest-grossing movie ever by a female director.
Jia also plays the lead role as the daughter who travels back to 1981, before she was born, and tries to give her mother a better life than the one she had the first time around.
The film is partly biographical and an ode to Jia’s mother, who died in an accident when Jia was 19.
“Mum, don’t go, don’t leave me,” Jia says in the film - dissolving many in cinema audiences into tears, even though it is for the most part a comedy.
Chinese cinemas are largely back to normal after the country wrestled down coronavirus infections to a comparative trickle, and the film has given many a renewed appreciation of their mothers.
“I have never thought before that my mum was also a young girl in the past,” said college student Yu Yanting after seeing the film in Shanghai.
Jia, who prior to this was best-known as a comedian in the male-dominated world of Chinese comedy, said that she was “tormented” when her mother died suddenly.
But she hopes that rather than thinking of it as a sad film, audiences will appreciate her mother’s spirit and optimism.
“Our mum’s love for us is like air -- it is there since we were born, so we often ignore it,” Jia told state television.
“But when we lose it, we experience a sense of suffocation and helplessness.”