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The Calming Image

The Calming



This exquisitely soft-voiced, delicately toned, quietly powerful film from Chinese director Song Fang tells, not exactly the "story", but rather the precisely depicted situation of a young Beijing filmmaker named Lin Tong. She’s just broken up with her boyfriend and moved to a new apartment, a fact she can’t seem to confess to her parents or her best friend. But she tells a colleague in Tokyo, during one of the several excursions (the others to Niigata, Hong Kong, Nanjing) that give this meticulously ordered film its soft rhythms.

Song is interested in exploring the inner life of a woman through precisely observed external signs: watch the flowers, plants, trees, and butterflies for a constantly modulating commentary on and reflection of Lin Tong’s inner turmoil. And Song has found a perfect creative partner in actress Qi Xi, whose subtly graded expressions and posture – just observe the various ways she seems to refract ambient light - speak emotional volumes.

Director Icon Director
Song Fang

Qi Xi, Ye Yuzhu, Song Dijin, Makiko Watanabe, Chen Yadi, He Pei
Executive Producer Hu Hui, Dong Ping, Jia Zhang-Ke
Producer Jia Zhangke, Stephen Xiang
Screenwriter Song Fang
Cinematographer Lü Songye
Editor Song Fang
Art Director Peng Shaoying, Liu Cheng-Hung
Production Company Huanxi Media Group Limited, Fabula Entertainment, X Stream Pictures
Source Fabula Entertainment
China 2020 93 min. Mandarin, English, Japanese with English subtitles


Please note that VIFF 2020 online films can be viewed in British Columbia only.

Song Fang headshot


Song Fang studied film direction in Belgium and went on to obtain a master’s (also in direction) at Beijing Film Academy. In 2009 her short film Good-bye (Gao Bie) won Second Prize at Cinéfondation in Cannes Film Festival. In 2012 her debut feature Memories Look at Me won the Best First Feature Prize at Locarno. Later that year, the film also received the Special Jury Prize at Tokyo FILMEX and the Grand Prize at Brazil’s International Women Film Festival.

Selected Filmography
Memories Look at Me (2012)

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