Apple rings in Lunar New Year with professionally casted film starring Zhou Xun and directed by Theodore Melfi

Apple continues its “shot on iPhone” advertising with its latest heartfelt and warm ad for the Lunar New Year celebrations. Aptly titled, “Daughter” brings viewers directly into the emotional, passionate and poignant realities that most families face during the festive period.

It begins by showing a female taxi driver, played by Zhou Xun – one of China’s leading actresses, replacing a flat tyre with a new one, whilst a little girl –  immediately identifiable as her daughter – sleeps peacefully in the backseat of the taxi. A flashback takes us to a strong conversation where the taxi driver’s mother reproaches her for wanting to take her daughter, Duo Duo, to work with her.

“How could a mother do that?” hits hard in the emotions. The spot takes us further into the flashback where the story unfolds. “I bring my daughter along when I’m driving my taxi, why is that not possible?” “If you leave, don’t even think about coming back!” “Not all women have to lead the same lives.” The difference in the generational acceptance of what a woman should and shouldn’t do are clearly brought out in this scene. Female taxi driver, taking her daughter out of the house to work with her, exposing her to all kinds of dangers instead of keeping her safe at home where she can learn to be domesticated… it all seems rather unsettling. Yet, viewers are immediately drawn toward silently, but surely, rooting the single mother-taxi driver.

The spot then takes us through the many adventures both mother and daughter take together through the eyes of the little girl, or rather, through her magical telescope.

The one tradition, however, that no lunar new year spot can forget is reunion. What is the lunar new year without a family reunion? And the catalyst that leads to an emotional reunion in this story? Dumplings.

Duo Duo expresses her desire to become a chef so she can make dinosaur dumplings, fairy dumplings, chocolate-filled dumplings. “All kinds of dumplings!” When asked what her favourite dumpling is, Duo Duo’s mother says ones filled with chives and egg – the ones her own mother used to make for her. “But I haven’t had them in years.”

The spot then leads us to the unexpected reunion of grandmother, daughter, and granddaughter.

The brilliant eight and a half minute spot was directed by Theodore Melfi, the director of 2017 Oscars Best Picture nominated film, and who is also known for his work in St. Vincent and Hidden Figures.

The film, though only being filmed on Apple’s 4K technology on its iPhone 11 Pro, hired a cast is definitely as professional as it gets. According to Apple, the meaning behind the film is that no matter how much we all grow apart, humanity has the power to bring us together.

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