Apple's Chinese New Year ad is a moving tale of single mothers, daughters and taxi rides

Theodore Melfi directs nine-minute epic shot entirely on iPhone 11 Pro

Published On
Jan 13, 2020

Editor's Pick

Apple aims to prove that its iPhone 11 Pro is capable of creating an epic, Hollywood-style film in this year's spot for Chinese New Year.

The company tapped a Hollywood director, Theodore Melfi ("Hidden Figures," "St. Vincent") to helm the nine-minute film, which casts a big Chinese star, Zhou Xun, as a single mother who becomes estranged from her own mom over her life choices. She works as a taxi driver to support herself, taking her daughter along for every ride—something that caused the final row with her mother, as we see in flashback. 

The film, featuring cinematography from Lawrence Sher ("Joker"), includes sweeping panoramas of Chongqing as well as more intimate scenes set in the taxi, where the little girl surprises some of the passengers in some delightfully captured moments. Finally, on New Year's Eve, a very special passenger gets into the back of the cab and well, you might want to reach for the tissues at this point. The film reflects the changing societal norms of China while demonstrating what the iPhone 11 Pro can do (including capturing flashback scenes in a single take using Ultra Wide and taking advantage of the iPhone 11 Pro’s mobility by attaching it to cranes and windshields).

This film shows how the phone can capture moments, big and small, worthy of a professional movie and is the latest blockbuster demo of its tech since its action-packed "Snow Brawl" from late last year.