The article was originally posted on Parallax Films with 1068 views.
Written by Jiexiao Ying 2018.11.20
Translated by Pei Shang 2019.6.12
Twenty-two-year-old director Zhu Xin’s debut feature, Vanishing Days (2018), was selected to the New Currents competition at Busan International Film Festival in 2018. The film has continued its journey in the festival circle at the 17th Marrakech International Film Festival (Nov 30 – Dec 8, 2018). It is the only Chinese film selected to the main competition to compete for the Golden Star Award for the Best Feature Film.
The Marrakech International Film Festival (FIFM), held annually in Marrakech, Morocco, is one of the largest film events in North Africa. The highest award is the Golden Star Award. The FIFM also issues awards, including The Jury Prize, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Director. The world vision of FIFM has encouraged many Chinese filmmakers: Zhang Yimou won the Outstanding Achievement Award in 2012; Zang Qiwu’s “The Donor” (2018) won the Golden Star Award; Wang Xuebo’s “Knife in the Clear Water” (2018) won the Best Director Award.
There are 14 films in competition at the 17th Marrakech International Film Festival, all of which are the director’s debut or second feature films, and six of which are directed by female directors. Besides only Chinese film, Zhu Xin’s Vanishing Days, there are many other cutting-edge and diverse films. Diane is produced by Martin Scorsese and directed by the Chairman of the New York Film Festival, Kent Jones. Germany Director Eva Trobisch’s All Good won the Locarno Best Debut Award. Among them, Mexican films made a strong attack. The two films premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival were once again selected to the FIFM: The Chambermaid, which is directed by the drama actress, Lila Avilés, appeared in the Discovery section; Director Alejandra Marquez Abella’s The Good Girls was selected to the “Platform” section.
This year’s Marrakech International Film Festival is full of stars. James Gray serves as the Jury’s president of this festival. His debut Little Odessa won the Venice Silver Lion Award, and three times nominated for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. The jury members include actress Dakota Johnson (The Windy Winds), German actor Daniel Brühl (Goodbye Lenin), British director Lynne Ramsay (You Were Never Really Here), Lebanese director and visual artist Joana Hadjithomas, Mexican director Michel Franco, etc. In addition, the Film Festival also announces a prominent group of directors in its important new talk series «CONVERSATION WITH»: directors Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro, Cannes Fest General Delegate Thierry Frémaux, one of the “Three Amigos” Mexican director Guillermo del Toro, Romanian director Cristian Mungiu, and “New Wave Grandma” Agnes Varda.
The moisture atmosphere and the creativity of Vanishing Days are favored by the Marrakech International Film Festival. The story takes place in the southern Chinese city of Hangzhou on a stiflingly hot summer day in 2009. While 14-year-old girl Li Sen-lin is struggling to finish her summer essay before the rains arrive, Auntie Qiu, a boatwoman who hasn’t shown up for years, suddenly makes a visit, and recounts the tale of a strange encounter on an abandoned island. When her father leaves home on a business trip, Li Sen-lin loses her pet turtle. On the way home after she bought the new turtle, she witnesses a bizarre murder. Memory and reality constantly interweave into one another, like the water of the Great Canal dampening each individual that roams along with it.
After the premiere of Vanishing Days at Busan, it attracted the attention of film critics and audiences at home and abroad. They were amazed at the Zhu Xin’s control force and understanding of the aesthetic concepts in the film. Richard Brian, a film critic at the Busan International Film Festival, commented, “Zhu Xin’s feature film ‘Vanishing Days’ is novel, gentle, but complex, indicating the arrival of a unique rising star in Chinese film production.” Film critic Jiang Suyuan said, “‘Vanishing Days’ is a movie with a wonderful atmosphere. Although the tone of the film is realistic, the story is surreal… Some things keep disappearing in an ominous atmosphere, and the shadow of death haunts. Li Sen-lin’s trivials (present), the Aunt’s stories (future), and the girl’s composition (fantasy). Through crossing the narrations of these three stories, [we] vaguely see a girl’s adventures in fantasy in the summer.”
However, “Vanishing Days” is not only a girl’s growth diary, but a riddle far from solved, or a well-designed room escape. Viewers need to sneak into the audiovisual text of the film and slowly enter the undercurrent of everyday life. Rich texture and mysterious atmosphere add more pleasure to this film.
Domestic fans said: “Hangzhou, summer, ghosts, memories, and hallucinations scroll and time invasion. It is either Kiyoshi Kurosawa or Apichatpong Weerasethakul, or neither of them. A story of farewell, two suspense layers intertwined. This is how we were raised up, and this is how we vanish.” Fans at Douban said: “Music and sound make people feel chilled and immersed. Hangzhou’s slimy air touches the audience’s skin through the screen. The dreamy texture of the work is rare. The film also brings the fearless and invincible spirit of a young director who is worth paying attention to in the future.”
Director Zhu Xin graduated from the Film and Television Department of the China Academy of Art. His short film, Wushan Community, was once nominated for an Exploration Award at the Amphibia Youth Film Festival. Vanishing Days in Zhu Xin’s eyes is “the illusion of real life”. The real geographical space of Hangzhou is recombined in the image. The characters cross the Huanglong Cave, turn over the Laohe mountain, and visit Qiandao Lake. In a childhood park, there is a path that goes into the suspicion of the abyss. The director uses the same unclear tone to tell the doubts we had when we were in our childhood and also buries layers of suspense.
Vanishing Days in the early stage was independently completed by Zhu Xin and his partners in a movie interest group “Fresh Wood,” at a very low budget during the university. While filming, he and his co-screenwriter Dai Ying built this poetic text. The main characters in the film were played by the non-professional actors selected from different backgrounds, adding a true and natural texture to the film and expressing a strong Hangzhou atmosphere. Starring Jiang Li was only a 14-year-old girl at that time but showed a free and lively state in front of the camera with the other two stars Huang Jing, and Chen Yan. The Cinematography of Zhang Wei and Wang Chenhao, the ethereal and mysterious music of Tao Zhen, and the production design of Chen Xinjialan and Jin Jiachen add more fantasy to Vanishing Days.
The film was made and produced by Midnight Blur and Midday Hill Films, with Hangzhou Chengying Co., Ltd. and a Korean company—Lu Films. Midnight Blur’s international distribution company PARALLAX Films takes responsibility for film festival submissions and international sales.
About Parallax Films
Based in China, PARALLAX Films is an international film distribution company, a subsidiary of Midnight Blur Films, specializing in the worldwide promotion and distribution of high-quality Chinese and Asian films in film festivals and the film market. Its services include the strategic planning of international film festivals submissions, publicity at film festivals, distributions at local theaters and streaming media platforms. PARALLAX Films has agents in Paris, Tokyo, New York, Beijing, and Shanghai, working closely with filmmakers, and providing them with international market exposure and festival opportunities.
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1996年生的年轻导演祝新，凭借首部长片作品《漫游》，曾入围2018年釜山新浪潮竞赛单元。如今影片继续自己在电影节的旅程，参与11月30日至12月8日的第17届马拉喀什电影节（Marrakech International Film Festival），作为唯一一部入围主竞赛单元的华语影片，竞逐“金星奖”。
本届马拉喀什国际电影节主竞赛单元共有14部影片，均为导演的首部或第二部长片作品，其中6部出自女性导演。影片整体新锐而多元，除了唯一的华语影片祝新的《漫游》之外，还包括马丁·斯科塞斯监制、纽约电影节主席肯特·琼斯（Kent Jones）导演的《戴安Diane》,德国导演艾娃·杜华德（Eva Trobisch）获得洛迦诺最佳处女作奖项的《一切都好All Good》。其中，墨西哥电影强势出击，多伦多国际电影节首映的两部影片再度入围马拉喀什，即戏剧演员出身的利拉·阿维尔斯（Lila Avilés）执导、亮相“新发现”单元的《女服务员The Chambermaid》，以及亚历山德拉·马奎斯·艾蓓拉（Alejandra Marquez Abella）执导、入围“站台”单元的《优雅女子The Good Girls》。
今年马拉喀什国际电影节众星云集。詹姆斯·格雷（Jame Gray）担任本届主席，他的处女作《小奥德萨》一举摘得威尼斯银狮奖，三度提名戛纳电影节金棕榈。评委团成员包括美版《阴风阵阵》演员达科塔·约翰逊（Dakota Johnson），《再见列宁》的德国演员丹尼尔·布鲁赫（Daniel Brühl），《你从未在此》的英国导演琳恩·拉姆塞（Lynne Ramsay），黎巴嫩导演和视觉艺术家乔安娜·哈吉图曼（Joana Hadjithomas），墨西哥导演米歇尔·弗兰克（Michel Franco）等等。此外，电影节还邀请了马丁·斯科塞斯和罗伯特·德尼罗导演开设大师班，与戛纳电影节主席福茂，“墨西哥三杰”的吉尔莫·德尔·托罗，罗马尼亚著名导演克里斯蒂安·蒙吉，新浪潮祖母瓦尔达共同开展“对话”系列。
《漫游》的水汽和灵性得到了马拉喀什国际电影节的青睐。故事发生在零九年异常闷热的夏天的南方城市，一场阵雨正在酝酿当中。 女孩李森林迟迟写不出她的暑期作文，这时多年未曾蒙面的船工秋秋阿姨突然造访， 道出了那年荒岛上的奇遇。 父亲出差去了，李森林丢了自己的乌龟，买乌龟回家的途中，却目睹了一桩离奇的杀人案……记忆与现实在这个故事里不断交织，犹如运河的水不断浸润这场漫游中的每个人。
国内影迷说：“杭州，夏日，鬼魂，记忆，幻觉，散步着侵略时间。 黑泽清、阿彼察邦，或谁都不是。 一个离别故事，两层悬疑嵌套，我们都是这么长大的，我们都是这么消失的。”豆瓣影迷说：“音乐和音效让本片具有一种令人汗毛树立的浸没感，杭州黏糊糊的空气透过银幕接触着观众的皮肤。好的有梦的质感的作品实属难得。本片又带着年轻导演初生牛犊不怕虎的锐气和灵气。未来值得期待。”
《漫游》由午夜失焦 Midnight Blur、杭州午山影视公司制作及出品，杭州成影有限公司、 韩国 LuFilms 参与制作。午夜失焦 Midnight Blur 旗下国际发行公司视幻文化 PARALLAX 则负责影片的电影节投报和国际销售。