A film by Diedie Wang
2016, 85 minutes
No. 078


The widening gap between generations in China today is at the heart of this deeply resonant documentary about a son, recently returned from the city, trying to modernize his aging father’s beekeeping business.

After drifting aimlessly as a migrant worker, Maofu returns to his family bee farm in rural Northern China. Still in his early twenties and eager to provide support for his parents, Maofu brings with him big ideas for the family business; new thoughts on marketing and branding to increase honey sales.

His father, Lao Yu, however, maintains a deep commitment to the traditions of beekeeping which he’s practiced for more than five decades. Now in his declining years, Lao Yu also sees first-hand how environmental pollution is depleting his bee colonies. He’s struggling with his own self-worth, as well as mixed emotions of whether his son should even stay in this traditional line of work.

As father and son try to collaborate, their vastly different approaches, both to business and to life, run headlong into one other. It’s a clash between tradition and modernization; one that is playing out in millions of families across the country.

Official Selection, International Documentary Festival Amsterdam
Official Selection, DOCNYC

“Recommended. Behind the loose narrative lies the familiar themes of generational differences, East/West values, and changing times, made fresh by the setting.” – Video Librarian

"Who would expect a family drama fueled by apiary disputes to be so captivating? The Beekeeper and His Son is engaging, entertaining... remarkable." - The Playlist

“A documentary that explores the family relationships and conflicts between two generations and observes the clash of traditional and modern meanings of life through lenses of rural and urban values. Recommended” – Educational Media Reviews Online