Paper Ring

This is a family drama filled with the distinctive regional characteristics of southern China.Nai is from a family that is not financially well-off. He has been in a relationship with Jingyiu, who comes from a more affluent family, for six years. It's the Mid-Autumn Festival, and finally, Jingyiu brings Nai home to meet her parents and discuss their marriage plans. However, despite the seemingly peaceful gathering during the Mid-Autumn dinner, everyone carries their own concerns. Jingyiu’s parents suspect that she brought Nai home because she is pregnant, which stems from deep-rooted family and class prejudices. In the late night after the conflict, Jingyiu discovers a hidden paper ring on Nai.

  • John Li
  • John Li
  • Shuo Fan Ji
  • Hao Lin
    Key Cast
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  • Runtime:
    33 minutes 33 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 1, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    15,000 CNY
  • Country of Origin:
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Fen Yang
    August 27, 2023
    China Premiere
    Main State Official Selection
  • 3th World Nomatic Short Film Week
    September 16, 2023
    Inner Mongolia Premiere
    Drama Winner
Director Biography - John Li

John Li, was born in Guangzhou ,in China.Insisting on local independent creation and focusing on the changes of the current situation in Guangzhou of south China, the film mainly shows the emotions and life of urban residents.

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Director Statement

When a couple enters into marriage, they begin to grope their position in the family.
Using the Mid-Autumn Festival as the occasion for a marriage proposal, Nai presents mooncakes that his mother rarely buys, but Jingyiu's family has access to even better mooncakes. Nai also brings a homemade wine made by his father, but Jingyiu's family assumes it is a cheap knock-off. Jingyiu's family intentionally tests Nai's abilities by serving seafood, but when the seafood is brought to the table, Jingyiu's mother refuses to eat it and opts for pre-made food from the refrigerator.
Seemingly, Jingyiu and her mother argue over the issue of being raised in a single-parent household. However, regardless of whether Nai is from a single parent or whether Jingyiu's mother is similarly affected by growing up in a single-parent family, these arguments are merely excuses that parents deliberately use to reject this young man. Behind the problem lies the fact that the parents look down on Nai's background and abilities. Jingyiu's mother's obsession with cleanliness in the household is also a form of mental cleanliness regarding family values, which instinctively resists Nai as a potential partner. Therefore, Jingyiu confronts her mother, asking, "Why is it that even though you and him both come from single-parent households, your single parent status is seen as acceptable while his is seen as problematic?" Jingyiu deeply understands her parents' mindset, which is why she did not mention him to her parents until Nai is admitted to postgraduate school.
Faced with the pressure from their families, this couple can only immerse themselves in an idealized emotional realm. A promise, a ring made of paper, a paper ring transformed into a real one, and finally, a photo of the perplexed couple—these are all reasons they find to continue on their uncertain journey of marriage.