South of the Clouds

- CHINA / 2012 / Chinese / Color / Blu-ray / 80 min

Director, Photography, Editing, Sound, Source: Wang Erzhuo

The director’s aunt runs a beauty parlor in a town in Yunnan Province, close to the Burmese border. Having once raised him as if he were her own son, she now embraces her nephew and his camera without conditions. The director's aging aunt passionately shares stories of the trials of her youth, of young love and her family, expressing her love for her nephew. Contrasting her views on love with the hopeful outlook of the young women who work in her beauty parlor, this personal documentary evokes everyday human happiness and sorrow through an aunt’s words.

[Director’s Statement] This is a story about the love and tears of ordinary people. The subject is my aunt, who brought me up as a baby-sitter. She runs a cosmetic business in a small border town between Yunnan Province and Burma.

As a person who makes documentaries, I am so young and lacking of life experiences. However, my view of the world was formed thanks to all of the closest people in my life. As a college student, I strongly feel the confusions and helplessness of my limited life. But I found that the ordinary people around me have something truly estimable, which teaches us to feel the pains and beauties of life. Sometimes the most ordinary people possess fascinating stories, which we usually ignore. I can only see them smiling, and weeping. Then all the stories faded away with time, growing old with their owners, gone with the wind.

My aunt is a very ordinary person. I love this ordinary woman who brought me up—that’s why I filmed her. Listening to her exciting stories, I suddenly realized that, after many rough experiences, life has still shaped her into an ordinary person, who grows old quietly. In the summer of 2012, I came to this small town alone, listening to stories of my aunt, living with the young people there. I recorded all the images of this summer with my DV camera. They are the most precious memories of my life and I hope they touch you.

- Wang Erzhuo

Wang Erzhuo was born in 1991 in Hunan, China. He now lives in Beijing, where he studies film directing at the the Film and Television Department of the Central Academy of Drama. In 2012 he shot his first documentary, South of the Clouds.