Trip to Lost Days

CHINA, SINGAPORE / 2022 / Chinese / Color, B&W / Digital File / 73 min

- Director, Script, Photography, Editing, Narration: Shen Ruilan
Sound: Benjamin Lim Yi
Music: Xiao Qiang
Producer: Guo Xiao-dong
Production Company: New Asian Filmmakers Collective
World Sales: Levo Films

A man decides to quit his job as a train attendant and become a monk. He boards a train, but where is it headed? Reality becomes dream, and then dream becomes future reality—but whose is it? Who watches it? Whose experience is it? A withered and depopulated village, a Buddhist temple bearing the scars of earthquakes, a Buddha statue standing quiet witness since ancient times to the passing generations. The man wanders this space of fluctuation, gathering together the fragments of memories left behind in the prayers of the region’s living and dead. The train hurtles along as if carrying the afterimages of dreams, soon awakening the memories of the man and other passengers. An experimental journey of loss and rebirth that invites us to a fantasy world. (WM)

[Director’s Statement] This is a film about the lost people and things in modern civilization, and also a film about their own disappearance and reincarnation. From a broader temporal perspective, people and their related memories are destined to disappear, and the images that record these memories are also destined to be forgotten. Whether it’s Xiao He in the film, the people he meets, or the film itself, they are all so fleeting, like a dream. How should we face this ultimate loneliness and how to put our small selves in the rushing flow of time? Under such circumstances, I hope to present a flowing image, a flowing life. All moments are equal, including those that are stranded, waiting, on the road, and ignored, which make up most of our lives, the small and ordinary moments that are equally worthy of being seen.

- Shen Ruilan

Born in 1993, Jiangsu province, China, now lives and works in Hangzhou. Studied from 2011 to 2018 at the China Academy of Art, Studio of Experimental Image and Institute of Radical Visual, where she gained a BA and then an MA. Her work invites the audience for a ghostly wandering in the remains of the visual journeys between eyes and objects. Her film works include Cassock (2018, Beijing International Short Film Festival best Chinese film award) and this film, which was selected for the New Horizons section of the Hainan Island International Film Festival.