Zhang Dalei on „Wo de peng you“/ interview

Born in Inner Mongolia in 1982, he studied directing at the St. Petersburg State University of Film and Television in Russia and is known as a screenwriter and director for his work on The Summer is Gone, Fuzz and Stars Await Us. In 2021, his film Day is Done screened in Berlinale Shorts and won the Silver Bear Jury Prize (Short Film).

What was your starting point for “Wo de peng you”? 

The film started with FIRST International Film Festival’s collaboration with CHANEL on their special curation program „FIRST FRAME“, which emphasises on diverse female images in the works of young Chinese filmmakers and encouraging the writing of female narratives. From the evaluation perspective of the program, it prompts female stories to take on a more prominent role in cinema, so as to create a future with more possibilities for young filmmakers committed to equal and diverse storytelling and expressing themselves through images and their own first frame. When I thought about my relationship with cinema, I would naturally return to the 1980s and 1990s when I first came into contact with films. Watching films was a very ritualistic and rare thing to do at that time, which made it even more so precious and solemn. I feel a bit sad when thinking about the situation of each individual, film industry and cinemas in 2022, it seems like we haven’t seen each other and haven’t been to the theatres for a long time. The memory of the days is more beautiful and romantic as time goes by, but also sad. Time cannot be turned back, therefore I thought of the theme of parting and meeting. From the perspective of an ordinary female worker, I recaptured the memory of going to the cinema in that era.

Do you have a favourite moment in the film? Which one and why this one? ·        

It’s hard for me to choose a favourite moment. I was personally engrossed by the whole film. One moment after another makes up that time. In WO DE PENG YOU, time and space are both essential.

What do you like about the short form?

We all know that the characteristics of short films and we all have our own feelings about the short form, but for me, the short form is a relatively light and delicate way of taking the audience into another time and space.

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