Self-Portrait: Sphinx in 47 KM
CHINA / 2017 / Chinese (Hubei Dialect) / Color / DCP / 94 min
Director, Script, Photography, Editing, Sound, Narration: Zhang Mengqi
Appearance: Fang Hong
Producer: Zhang Yan
Production Company: Caochangdi Workstation
Source: Zhang Mengqi
Director Zhang Mengqi’s seventh installment in her series of films depicting her hometown. An old woman telling haltingly of the death of her son and the sad story of her life, as she sits at the entrance of a building in the village where the words “Only ____ism Can Save China” have been scrawled on the wall; a young girl drawing pictures—a touching portrayal of the intimate flow of time in a quiet village. Zhang is the director of Self-Portrait with Three Women (2010, YIDFF 2011 New Asian Currents), and Self-Portrait: Birth in 47 KM (YIDFF 2017 New Asian Currents). Her eighth film in the series, Self-Portrait: Window in 47 KM, is featured in the International Competition this year.
[Director’s Statement] This is the seventh film in my “47 KM” film series.
In the opening shot, we see a wall on which is written a political slogan. Because of rain and a courtyard door, this slogan has become a fill-in-the-blank question: “Only ____ism Can Save China.” The resident of the house fills in the blank while she tells us the story of her deceased son.
Meanwhile, in the same village, the 14-year-old girl Fang Hong paints her dreams on the wall of her house.
The slogan wall and the dream wall become the landscape of this village. Are they posing a question? Or are they offering an answer?
It is like the great riddle of the Sphinx.