Female view seen in Venice
VENICE, Italy — Chinese movie Angels wear white premiered at the Venice Film Festival last Thursday.
Written and directed by Vivian Qu, the film this year represents China in the main section of Venice, which overall sees 21 movies contending for the Golden Lion major prize.
Qu is the only female director among those in competition this year. Her new film tells of two young girls, living in a small Chinese southern coastal town, who are assaulted by a middle-aged man in a motel.
Angels wear white (“Jia Nian Hua”) is a drama showed through a double perspective: that of one of the victims — 12-year-old Wen — and that of a female witness — Mia, a teenage receptionist working in the structure where the aggression occurs.
However, theirs are not the only crucial female characters in the feature. “This is a story about women ... about the choices that are allowed us, and the courage to make different ones. (It is) about the interchangeable roles of the victim and the bystander,” the director wrote in the production’s presentation.
The film — a Chinese-French coproduction — stars Wen Qi, Zhou Meijun, Shi Ke, Geng Le, Liu Weiwei, and Peng Jing.
“While writing the script, I looked for a specific point of view, and I found the perspective of the observer (the witness),” Vivian Qu told Xinhua at a news conference last Thursday.
“I thought my own perspective was not enough to imagine the view of the victim, because it was very intense ... Here is how we came to this split structure,” she says.
The movie deals with a sensitive issue that is often addressed — in China as in other parts of the world — by cinema as well as by other arts, and would likely reach the Chinese audience, whose interest in movies is in rapid evolution, according to the author.
“The taste of the Chinese audience is evolving and changing every year,” Qu says. “Commercial movies have been very successful in recent years. Yet, after a while, monotony has had its effects, and there has been a breach toward diversification, which is providing support to other kinds of films, like ours,” she says.
This time, the Chinese director came back to Venice with Angels wear white after she brought her Trap Street (Shuiyin Jie) in 2013, which premiered at the International Critics’ Week.
Writer-director-producer Vivian Qu at the Venice Film Festival.