Ping jing

Calming
Song Fang
2020

22.02.2020 19:00 Eng. subtitles Delphi Filmpalast
25.02.2020 19:00 Eng. subtitles Cubix 9
28.02.2020 21:30 Eng. subtitles CinemaxX 3
29.02.2020 19:30 Eng. subtitles Colosseum 1

89 min. Mandarin, English, Japanese.

Lin only talks of the break-up once, at lunch with her friend in Japan, where her installation is being shown. It goes unmentioned when she visits her parents back in China or stays with her friend in Hong Kong, even though the removal company has taken her things to the new apartment already. Most of the time she’s alone though and it’s tempting to read emotion into her face, possibly because it’s so rare to see a film that shows a woman being by herself and by extension just being herself, barely defined by those around her. This could simply be how Lin lives, she’s a filmmaker and often on the move, each trip blurring into the next. Her gaze is inquisitive wherever she goes, as if collecting material for a film: looking out of the window of the new apartment, observing the girl in the same hospital ward, examining light and foliage in the parks she hikes through. On trains, in cars, on boats, she watches different landscapes pass before her, snowy mountains, neon cityscapes, misty plains, as long as her eyes stay open. They’re closed too at the music recital, though the tears flow nonetheless: here, as always, looking and feeling go hand in hand. (jl)

Song Fang was born in Jiangsu, People's Republic of China. After studying film directing at the Institut national supérieur des arts du spectacle et des techniques de diffusion (INSAS) in Brussels, she completed a master's degree in film directing at the Beijing Film Academy. Her feature film debut Ji yi wang zhe wo (2012) was shown at international film festivals.

Inner sadness and transformation

In this film, I set out to show how people face their inner, emotional problems in everyday situations.
A person may carry a certain burden of sadness which they find hard to shed; they may feel desperate and vulnerable, and consequently lonely. Even in the company of family and friends, such burdens cannot really be lifted. This kind of experience feels universal. No matter how hard the struggle, as long as the will to live prevails, there is always a way forward. Pain can always be alleviated, and feelings can always be transformed.
I wanted to capture such a transformation using a simple, realistic logic and basic human relationships with family and friends. I chose to focus on human emotions, inner moods, and perceptions.
Compared with literature, cinema has limited possibilities of description. But cinema has an innate power to seize a moment visually, which verbal language cannot match.
I also set out to highlight aspects of the human condition in the context of nature. I shot the film across different seasons and locations, showing the changes in the natural cycle.
PING JING is a film about the relationship between the individual and the self, between an individual and others, between an individual and the world. The first of these relationships gives the film its basic structure, but it’s inseparable from the other two. It’s balancing all three that makes an individual whole. (Song Fang)

Production Jia Zhang-ke, Steven Xiang. Production companies Fabula Entertainment (Shanghai, People's Republic of China), Huanxi Media Group (Shanghai, People's Republic of China). Written and directed by Song Fang. Cinematography Lu Songye. Editing Song Fang. Sound design Zhang Yang. Sound Qiao Mingzi. Production design Peng Shaoying, Liu Cheng-Hung. Costumes Zhang Juan. Make-up Wang Lamei. Casting Dai Xiaolu. Assistant director Li Changlong. Production manager Wang Yingliang. Co-producers Zhao Yijun, Zhang Dong, Shozo Ichiyama. Co-production Xstream Pictures. With Qi Xi (Lin Tong), Ye Yuzhu (Lin Tong's Mother), Song Dijin (Lin Tong's Father), Makiko Watanabe (Makiko), Chen Yadi (Xuemei), Pei Pei (He Pei).

Films

2009: Gao bie / Good-bye (30 min.). 2010: Yulu (20 min., co-directed by Jia Zhangke, Wei Tie, Tao Chen, Chen Ziheng, Wang Zizhao, Tan Chui Mui). 2012: Ji yi wang zhe wo / Memories Look at Me (87 min.).

Photo: © Huanxi Media Group