CHINA / 2001 / Chinese / Color / Video / 90 min
Director, Photography: Zhong Hua
Editing, Sound: Xiang Chun
Source: Zhong Hua
Xicheng District Changqiao Dingfu Street 3#, Qing Wang Fu, Beijing 100009 CHINA
Four armed police soldiers who work guarding an embassy in Beijing have ended their term of service. These four young men, ranging in age from 20 to 25, all worked as film projectionists for the squad, and after the final outdoor screening, each soldier marks leaving the squad in his own personal way. Ren Yong goes to Tiananmen to give blood, while Fang Lei resolves to lose his virginity. Rou Quan stands sentry one last time at his former place of work, and Cai Fengcai sings at a party for ex-servicemen. The four then leave the squad behind them, with three boarding trains back to their respective family homes, while one remains to work and be with his girlfriend in Beijing, a city which still feels unfamiliar after nine years.
[Directors Statement] Like everyone else who has ever studied at the Beijing Film Academy, it was my dream to make films when I was a student. However, I would never have imagined that making television documentaries would lead me to realize that directing movies was my true calling. To be honest, I don’t really like television.
However, it was while grappling with the production of television programs that I realized filmmaking was my vocation, and that I should dedicate my life to making films. I felt that my first work should be about the life that was most familiar to me. This film has semi-autobiographical aspects to it, in that I used to be an armed police soldier, and worked as both a sentry and a projectionist.
In every country, the army is a machine of war, and soldiers are all parts of that machine. The lives of soldiers are isolated from those of civilians, and this type of isolation is sometimes dehumanizing. However, a young soldier leaving the squad is still the same man he was before he left. People experience parting throughout their lives, but for soldiers, this parting brings out the concepts of isolation and continuity much more than is the case for other people.
Having been in this situation myself in the past, I experienced for myself what parting actually means in the life of a young person, and truly experienced the isolation and continuity for the first time. I wanted to express this, and I wanted to express it as realistically as possible. This led me to make this film.
Born in 1973 in Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province, China. In 1991, worked as a projectionist while a member of the armed guards in Beijing. In 1995, entered the photography department of the Beijing Film Academy. Made the short documentary Temptation in 1998. Other works include Police Story (1999) and Old Guy (1999) Currently working on new work Going Home.