In your film documentary many different “emotional documents” are involved: personal memories, interviews with children, fantasies and nightmares etc. Can you explain how you could build a unitary meaning from such heterogeneous “bricks”? I don’t remember many fades in your editing, the viewer is suddenly thrown from one scene to another. Can you tell me why you chose this “violent” editing, only made of cuts? And what connection the edit has with the general meaning of the film?
I think that “emotions” are the forces that bind all things together.
I haven’t experienced any school or academic education so both in my writing and in my approach to the visual I am quite free, I naturally avoid the restrictions of rules and chains. Before starting the editing part I wrote a very short novel with the same title of the film, it worked as a kind of script for the editing, it helped me to analyze and put together all the pieces; every time I started writing, I was caught by physical and emotional stimulation,fear, anger, sadness, etc., all sorts of emotions experienced there in Guizhou and in my childhood hit me strongly. I tried to convey it in a visual then aural language, then again into visual with the editing work.
I hope the viewers of the film feel like they’re going through everything with me.
Emotional expression is very important in my film. The shooting, the voice over and the editing all aim to bring the viewer to feel emotions rather than giving answers.
In a part of “The Children Are Not Afraid Of Death, Children Are Afraid Ghosts” it seems as though a subtractive will was guiding your choices, very long scenes in which there are no movements at all, in the camera or inside the screen, static photographic images of death and lifelessness. Can you explain this expressive attitude?
First of all I should say that this is a film about death, not only physical, but also metaphorical, we experience death many times in our lives, and in many ways…
When I think about the idea of death I feel it as a perpetual, continual quiet…
Quiet, stillness, like everything in this world, is not always a good thing..
When I arrived there, on those Guizhou mountains, abandoned by civilization,
I felt like nothing was possible; Poverty, drought, ignorance, violence..
You can’t see the possibility of all this changing into something else, those kids’ life condemned to a perpetual haunting and desperate “quiet”.
For me, perhaps, this deliberately created stillness in images.
But stillness and quiet is also the only way for us to calm down and think…
So there is a double and controversial use of the stillness in the film, this maybe creating a sense of uncomfortable feeling, annoyance and embarrassment in some points.
When we’re lying on the couch like we’re dead, watching the news,
when we stare at the tragedies on TV and turn around and have our dinner,
this is also “quiet “ but what kind of quiet? Those images we watch on TV are “non condensed pictures”, they are human-less because they are just media and not an expression of an emotion.
We must try to calm down and start to be tolerant, this is also what the stillness in the film will try to tell you.