A retiring mailman (Teng Rujun) takes his son (Liu Ye) on a three-day delivery round through the mountains of Hunan to train the boy as a replacement; a lifetime’s worth of parent-child bonding ensues. Obvious and direct, with loads of exposition-sogged voice-over, Postmen in the Mountains essentially functions as a Confucian maxim writ large. Pointedly set during the Deng Xiaoping era, the movie otherwise keeps political subtext too far in the background. The subject of filial piety isn’t exactly dramatic—we keep waiting for the kid to rebel against his father, who’s been absent for much of his life, but he never does. The notion that every generation is fundamentally the same gets hammered home so relentlessly that it becomes suffocating, despite all the fresh air.