A Family Tour ★★½

One assumes that this quietly fierce drama must serve as an exorcism, of sorts, for director Ying Liang, who was himself forced to live in Hong Kong following the release of his last film. This time out, there’s a response to that authoritarian overreach, told in an autobiography-adjacent manner. A director, forced to live in Hong Kong, uses the invitation of her film as a pretext to visit her Chinese mother in Taiwan. Now with a child and new husband in tow, the director reunites with her mother while faking pretexts for her trip. Many of the scenes depict intimate conversations held in public, as the family shuffles from one tourist trap to another with a tour group. Ying’s tone both seethes quiet anger and hints at a slew of unspoken regrets. Neither ever quite gets a cathartic release, resulting in a tone that’s somewhat uninvolving where it should feel devastating. Still, this remains an admirable effort that hides plenty of outrage and despair behind its precise framing, quiet conversations, and observations about the complex question of Chinese statehood.