Four Ways to Die in My Hometown
PROD Huang Jingwei
SCR Chai Chunya
CAM Huang Xiaoyu
ED Anna Zhang
PROD DES Fang Gua
MUS Mamer, IZ Band
PROD CO Chai Chunya
Journalist-turned-filmmaker Chai Chunya was born in a village in Gansu, and he returned there to shoot this remarkable debut feature. Gansu adjoins Tibet, and the connections are not only geographic.
The story Chai tells is poetic, even fanciful. Ga Gui is all-too-typical of young people born in villages like this one: she’s a young woman who left to find education and work in the big city. We follow her as she visits her birthplace because she’s had a premonition that her elderly father is dying. She finds him preparing for death by sleeping in a makeshift coffin—but he’s also convinced that he has a mission to revive the community before the exodus of its young turns the place into a ghost town.
Using ideas from performance art and painting, Chai boldly goes beyond realism in his quest for the Buddhist essence of rural life in Gansu. The “four ways to die” are those associated with the elements: the windy air, the red-clay earth, fire, water. The film is chaptered around them as it moves from drama to meditation.
— Tony Rayns
Preceded By: Maze King
DIR Kim Hakhyun / Japan, 2013, 7 min.
Highly original animation made at the Grad School of Tokyo University of the Arts. A clown, a girl, a dog, a soldier, a man and a transgendered individual decide to leave on a trip. But are they any more than warring aspects of one psyche? (TR)