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The Zhou family is a well known in its small farming community in the heart of China. Zhou Zhi, the head of the family, rules strictly following the handed-down ‘hereditary tradition’: listening to no one, and in the face of new economic challenges, he decides and acts totally arbitrarily. Unable to adapt himself to “modern times”, not the last because of his stubbornness, he runs into a heavy debt and the family is in great financial difficulty. Turning to his daughters and sons-in-law for support, he receives a cold welcome. In this day and age, the old ways to run a family seems no longer adequate: his daughters, one after the other, contest his authority. Nevertheless, the film ends on a positive note with the arrival of a new born grand-daughter, representing the next generation of this very Chinese family. Around the almost larger-than-life patriarchal figure of Zhou Zhi, this film vividly portrays the difficulties an ordinary Chinese family, with its members having to change their lifestyle in the face of economic difficulties. Like in a Shakespearean drama, the story culminates with the father finally recognizing his mistakes and apologizing to the family.