Fe­male view seen in Venice

China Daily - - PEOPLE -

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.

JIN YU / XIN­HUA

Writer-di­rec­tor-pro­ducer Vi­vian Qu at the Venice Film Fes­ti­val.

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