22.04. ‐ 27.04.2025
Brief history of a family

Brief History of a Family (Jia ting jian shi)

Lin Jianjie

The reserved but determined Yan Shuo comes from difficult circumstances. Seeking connection in the home of his classmate Wei's family, he finds hope for a better future. Wei himself is less ambitious and observes Shuo's increasing presence with suspicion. Between the two boys, an aggressive struggle for love and recognition ensues.

Director Lin Jianjie lays bare a family, their expectations, and hopes with his film. Skillfully constructed, he creates a narrative tension reminiscent of Darren Aronofsky's nerve-wracking thriller "Black Swan." However, Jianjie's storytelling style is distinctly more fluid across genres, without sacrificing tension – on the contrary: "Brief History of a Family" capitalises on its own ambiguity, unfolding an unsettling and profound family drama in a sterile atmosphere and cold-blue light.

More information Lichter FilmfestLichter Filmfest

Direction Lin Jianjie
Country China, Denmark
Year 2024
Duration 100 min
Language Mandarin with English subtitles
Production Lou Ying, Zheng Yue, Wang Yiwen
Cast Zu Feng, Guo Keyu, Sun Xilun, Lin Muran
Camera Zhang Jiahao
Script Lin Jianjie
Editing Per K. Kirkegaard
Sound Li Ran, Margot Testemale, Jacques Pedersen, Fanny Weinzaepflen
Music Toke Brorson Odin
Sound Design Jacques Pedersen, Margot Testemale

Sundance Film Festival 2024, Berlinale 2024

Presented by:

About the director

Lin Jianjie is a Chinese director. Before his studies in film at the New York University, he attained a bachelors degree in Bioengineering. After the two short films “A Visit” (2016) and “Gu”(2017), Lin makes his feature film debut with “Brief History of a Family”.

Press reviews

“Populated with thematically relevant imagery, Jianjie Lin’s sleek and stimulating feature debut follows a teenager gaining the trust of his friend’s moneyed parents.” (Carlos Aguilar, Variety)

The director about the film

“I didn’t think of a genre when I was writing a script. In the beginning, it was very thriller-like. But during the pre-production, the shooting and the editing, I worked more with my DOP and discarded many genre notions, instead looking more at the interactions between the characters and how to bring life to the scenes. So, the tone is a little bit ambiguous. It’s a little bit shifting.” Lin Jianjie in an interview with Variety


International Feature Film Program