CHINA, USA / 2007 / Chinese, English / Color / Video / 151 min
Director, Script, Editing, Sound, Producer: Hu Xinyu
Photography: Hu Xinyu, Reinhard Spoerl
Source: Hsinyu Hu’s Personal Space Workshop
The director’s older sister separated from her abusive husband and moved to the US, where she started a successful career and now lives with her American husband in the State of Virginia. With the arrival of her daughter from her first marriage, they begin a new life which the director—who for some reason decides to live with them—captures with a camera he positions and leaves running so that he, too, enters the frame. The camera angles conjure feelings of anxiety as they depict typical signs of wealth in American suburbia—a large detached house, an outsized supermarket, driving as a necessary means of transport—while exposing the somehow “empty” house as it traps his sister, who is always jittery. From the tricky position of being both a brother and an uncle, the director offers a new perspective on the sense of impotence that grips the American middle-class, and presents his own theory of
[Director’s Statement] I have experimented with renouncing the sacredness and fictionality of cinema in order to create a situation in which nothing artificial stands between life as it is lived and the recording of it. I have no intention of serving as a propaganda tool, either for justice or injustice. Rather, I engage in the act of filmmaking in order to record the inevitable relationships between people that can be captured only because I am in that place at that time. I believe that that which brings down calamity upon us is not the inquiry into things itself, but rather the forced conclusions that we draw for the sake of producing an answer.
Independent filmmaker, born in 1969. Hu entered the school of music at Shanxi University, in Taiyuan in Shanxi Province, in 1989. Since 1993, he has taught in the music department at Taiyuan Normal University. In 2001, he started work on the digital video Excess, later abandoned. His first full-length documentary, The Man, was finished at the end of 2001 and had screenings at the Shadow Festival in the Netherlands, Les Écrans Documentaires in France, the Yunnan Multi Culture Visual Festival (Yunfest) in China, and the Reel China Documentary Biennial. Sister is his second full-length documentary.