Austin Asian American Film Festival


Directed by Yang Mingming

China, 2018, 1h 57min, Mandarin

Austin Asian American Film Festival

There are no current or future screenings planned for this film.

Young screenwriter Wu (Yang Mingming, making her feature debut as writer, director, and star) lives with her aging mother (Nai An) in a hutong—one of the gradually disappearing residential alleyways of old Beijing. Having exhausted the money from her last script sale, Wu depends on the largesse of her boyfriend, a middle-aged film professor (Zhang Xianmin); the mother, a struggling writer herself, pins her hopes on the yet-to-be-written will of Wu’s grandfather (Huang Wei). Yang’s follow-up to her brilliant short FEMALE DIRECTORS (2012) eschews its mockumentary format but extends its play with levels of performance, shrewdly exploring the different faces Wu and her mother present to the world as their own relationship swings between extremes of affection and bitterness: two generations of women in a turbulent common front against life’s indignities and disappointments. Josh Martin, Programmer

“GIRLS ALWAYS HAPPY is unflinching in its exploration of a difficult parent-child dynamic, benefitting from intricate performances from the two leads”– Sarah Ward, ScreenDaily

“A quiet but ingratiating first feature from Yang Mingming”– David Bordwell

Student Admission: $9 – To receive your student discount you must purchase tickets at the box office and show your student ID.

AFS Members receive $2 off.

Interested in seeing multiple films and supporting AAAFF? Festival badges and passes are available at:

Copy of girls-always-happy-still