Jia Zhangke's latest work portrays homesickness
By Ye Qing

On January 25, Jia Zhangke, a well-known Chinese film director and screenwriter, released his new short commercial for Apple iPhone XS named "The Bucket" for the Chinese Spring Festival.

The ad film intends to focus on the "taste of every family" and the longing for home food in the hearts of those living away from their hometowns.

The short film, inspired by true events, tells the story of a loving mother and his son who lives away in a city.

This comes as yet another short film based on the theme of the Chinese New Year after Ann Hui's Alipay advertisement "The Place I Call Home" and "Peppa Celebrates Chinese New Year" directed by Zhang Dapeng.

The commercial was reportedly shot completely on Apple iPhone XS, however, the film's aerial scenes were shot with support from DJI Studio, one of the world's largest drone manufacturers.

The film's aerial scenes were shot with support from DJI Studio, one of the world's largest drone manufacturers. /Screenshot via Apple.com

The film's aerial scenes were shot with support from DJI Studio, one of the world's largest drone manufacturers. /Screenshot via Apple.com

It is reported that this is Jia's first film shot completely on a mobile phone. 

"Being able to shoot videos on the phone taught me the benefits of technological innovation," Jia said, adding that "it's inspiring to be able to record the Spring Festival rush with an iPhone XS."

Why shoot a bucket?

"What attracts me is the Spring Festival rush," Jia told China Youth Daily. 

Director Jia Zhangke at the premiere of "The Bucket". /China Youth Daily Photo

Director Jia Zhangke at the premiere of "The Bucket". /China Youth Daily Photo

"Two things impress me the most when I go home for the Spring Festival. One is cooking with family and another is when I leave home, my mother will pack my luggage and fill every corner with various kinds of snacks," he said.

While revealing the idea behind naming the film as "The Bucket" Jia said: "I always notice people carrying plastic buckets on their journey back home."

"The people carrying this bucket are ordinary people. You won't see it in the first-class lounge at the airport, but it's everywhere at train stations, long-distance bus stations, on the roads and to me, it's the people I know and love the most," Jia added.

A passenger carrying a plastic bucket at the Liuzhou railway station in southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, February 2, 2019. /VCG Photo

A passenger carrying a plastic bucket at the Liuzhou railway station in southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, February 2, 2019. /VCG Photo

According to China Youth Daily, Jia was deeply touched by two aspects during the making of "The Bucket." 

First, the long way home. "Even a kilometer away from home is a long way, not to mention being thousands of mountains and rivers away from home," Jia said.

And second, the separation from loved ones, which many people have to experience is also very touching, he added. 

The other thing is the weight of the bucket. In the film, the mother fills the bucket with sand so that the eggs don't break during the journey.  

"The weight of the bucket makes the journey harder," said Jia, adding that "the strength of the bucket is in contrast with the fragility of the eggs." 

(Head image is a screenshot via Apple.com)