March 20, 2023


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Wei Shujan, the helmer of The Stridding in the Wind, finds his voice – Variety

4 min read

Equipped with relaxed ambitions, incoming and outgoing Chinese helmer Wei Sujan is thrilled to be back in the first feature section this year after a briefing on his road trip film “The Wind in Striding”. “In 2018 the Special Jury won the Separation Award.

“Kan has been my school, my teacher,” he said Diversity, Saying he has carefully watched and studied the festival’s selections over the past four years. (He acknowledged last year’s competition title “Traitor”, as well as a special fondness for Hugh Xiao Hsien, Darden Brothers and somewhat awkward Woody Allen).

“I’m not just going to make a film in recognition of a festival, but this year it seems like I’m submitting my work to my teacher and asking,‘ Okay, take a look, did I answer it correctly or not? Is it going in the right direction? He laughed.

The film, whose international rights are already in the hands of Films Boutique, is based on his own experience from the early 20s when he bought an old secondhand Jeep and skipped most of his class and dreamed of traveling all the way to Inner Mongolia. – He has to leave the car after DUI.

Born and bred in hip-hop (his rap name is PUC, a spinoff of the second letter of Tupac Shakur’s first name and he is interested in calling friends “homilies” in English), Wei started the entertainment business as a child actor at the age of 14. He went to study sound recording at China Communication University in the capital.

After graduating he tried to become an entrepreneur, starting a media company hoping to do the job of advertising. He spends most of his time playing arcade games and messing with his colleagues, drinking “very kind people” and seeing that he looks back as a very educational time.

Two years later, he decided to get serious and went back to his alma mater for a Masters, especially for film studies. “On the Border” was his graduation thesis – and the source of the conflict with his supervisor.

“Strong independent thinking is needed for films, especially outer films. But [the instructors’] The thinking was even older school, “he explained. His supervisors were in the same legendary class as fifth-generation helmers Zhang Yimu and Tian Zhuangjuang, and” his teachings have never been updated – he’s been saying the same thing for the last 20 years. ”

With Chinese society changing so quickly, Wei said, there is a real generation gap. He knows that someone born in 1991, a world away from China, grew up in the fifth generation during the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution – and as those managers continue the strong emotions and experiences of that time, young people should find their own voice.

“The response I got was always that he expected me to‘ adhere more to the norm ’or‘ adhere more to conventional practice ’but I had to identify with my own character and story, otherwise I would shoot something that It matches well, but it has no life, ”he said.

Nowadays, younger Chinese helmers are no longer divided into separate “generations”. Way often finds himself frustrated by the work of his contemporaries. “Now a lot of new directors are just repeating the language of the sixth generation – they’re still doing what has already been done,” he said. “It simply came to our notice then. You have to have an international perspective, but as a young person you have to incorporate your own new way of looking at the world and show it to people.

When he first found out that his little one was selected by ear in 2018, it was absolutely unexpected. “I checked the email and thought, ‘Did they send it by mistake?’ We were supposed to discuss a new script that night, but it was impossible – we went out and ordered the tax, “he said.

Winning his ear ensured funding for a shrimp for his first feature: Alibaba Pictures took just 12 days to decide to spend it, he said.

“When I go to Taiwan or Singapore, they are also Chinese and also say Mandarin, but it is so difficult for filmmakers there. They have to work hard, shoot ads and then apply for funding. There are comparatively many opportunities in China, ”he said.

Although movies will have to wait there for a Chinese theater release for “Striding in the Window” to reopen there, Wei is busy. He is also running two more films: “Mr. Craneback returns, “A story about how a former offender reformed himself after his release from prison and the issues of death and father-son relationships and further artistic work divided into four chapters called” Life of Ripple “about how people live with inertia. “One is in the second half of the year and the other is ready for shooting in 2021, although the order has not been finalized yet.

Although Cannes was the springboard to launch “Parasite” last year, Wei said it might take some time to see if we could match the success of any Chinese title.

“When you bring to Korea, you can’t just name a film – it’s an achievement that has worked tirelessly for the entire Korean industry since 2000,” he said, noting that the country has a more mature industrial system and decades of exchange and study with the US. This allowed them to create national crossover hits.

“When it comes to Chinese films, I can’t really think of a single real world director. I think it is up to our young generation to study hard and improve themselves, ”he posted.

He said he was managing the pressure of his ear experience well – it was really his own expectations for his next film that made him nervous.

“I am just happy to be a part of it. Great if you like the picture. If not, no worries. Anyway. ”

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