Three Minutes by Peter Chan

Three Minutes is a sad, sweet film for Apple by acclaimed Chinese director Peter Chan, filmed on the iPhone X for Chinese New Year. Via Adweek:

Titled “3 Minutes,” it tells the story of a woman who works as a conductor on one of the longest train routes in the country. (Millions of people in China travel on crowded trains to be with their families over Chinese New Year.) Each year, this woman misses the holiday with her young son—but this time, she arranges to have her sister bring him to one of the train stops, so she can briefly see him.

Crucially, the entire film was shot on the iPhone X.

The film is scripted, but it’s based in truth—it is a real family, and the woman really is a conductor on the train.


The film is far from a straightforward, feel-good family tale. A sense of longing hangs over the piece, giving it an emotional depth that seems to have resonated in China, where it’s been viewed 68 million times in less than a week.

The countdown clock creates a sense of urgency—of love on a timer—and the boy’s efforts to impress his mother illuminate the closeness but also the distance between them. Their farewell at the end of the piece is complicated. Their three minutes together haven’t gone as planned, though of course they were never going to be able to communicate everything they feel for one another in such a condensed period of time.

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