Despite its epic close to three-hour runtime, Wang Qiong’s All About My Sisters tells a very intimate story. It focuses on the director’s family and the effects that China’s one-child policy had and continues to have on their lives.
The film focuses primarily on the director’s sister Jin. When Jin was born in the 90s, she was the third daughter of the family, rather than the son her parents had hoped for. As a result, she was abandoned by her family after birth and was eventually raised by her uncle.
From Jin’s story, the film spirals out to different points of view, including the experiences of Jin’s parents that led to the events, the relationships that other members of the family have with her, their takes on the one-child policy, and to the family’s current-day situation, in which friction still exists between family members. On top of this, the film also touches on the different standings of sons and daughters in Chinese society.
The film builds its story with beautiful meticulousness. Through simple everyday moments, Wang finds complex truths about her family members’ worldviews. These moments create a complex network of emotions, which the family attempts to wade through. This also gives Wang the opportunity to portray their relationships developing, finding the cyclical structures within them, and revealing how the traumas of the past still affect the lives of the family members.