The spread of the coronavirus has put a damper on travel plans for Chinese residents ahead of the New Year celebrations, which makes this charming film from Airbnb feel a bit bittersweet.
The lodging platform recently debuted this exquisitely animated tale that looks back on the New Year's memories of a Chinese family. It recounts what’s become a tradition between the father and daughter JIa Jia, which started when she was just a wee toddler and continued through young adulthood. Each year, when Jia Jia hangs the Chinese character for happiness, “fu,” on the window, her papa steps in to turn it upside-down (the move is meant to show that the family is welcoming happiness in, as the character for the word “upside-down” also represents “to arrive”).
Eventually, the daughter becomes a nurse and moves to the big city for work, away from Mom and Dad. She’s unable to make it home one particularly busy year, so she’s left by herself, feeling lonely as she glances at the text messages on her phone. But when she comes across a photo of her parents, standing in front of a familiar building, she runs out of her apartment and down the street, where, thanks to Airbnb, she’s able to make an unexpected “homecoming.”
“We hope the film can inspire people to take their reunions literally in a different direction," said Airbnb China head of marketing Mia Chen in a statement. "Through our platform, where a home can be anywhere you want, we hope to bring more families together during this special time of the year."
Given the health scare that's sweeping the country, however, consumers banned from traveling who view the film may be left not with a sense of possibility, but rather with a bit of heartbreak.
The film was produced out of Final Frontier and directed by Shaofu Zhang out of Taiko Studios, the shop behind the Oscar-nominated animated short “One Small Step.”