CHINA / 2005 / Chinese / B&W / Video / 86 min
Director, Photography, Editing: Huang Wenhai
Producer: Zhu Rikun
Production Company, World Sales: Fanhall Films
The experiences of four artists over one summer. The painter Wang Yongping plans to create a film and goes back to his hometown after living in Beijing for three years. Other artists gather to help, and the filmmaking begins. Li Wake does handstands whenever and wherever, in the name of behavioral art. The painter Ding Defu was active in the modern art movement of the 1980s, but is now busy teaching and attending to family. The web-based poet Bei Bei has a piddling day job as a security guard. Their feelings toward boundless art and creativity sway in the summer heat and drift amidst their dreams. The film depicts a monochrome world that traverses life and art, intersecting with China’s metamorphosis.
[Director’s Statement] Dream Walking is the second part of the “Trilogy of the Messes.” In the first work of the trilogy, Floating Dust, full of the absurd flavor of disillusionment, I depicted a tumultuous world of common people in contemporary China, where surviving the disorder dominates people’s lives. In Dream Walking, the world of artists surviving in the current society enters into my field of vision. I shot the film in a medium-sized city in Henan Province in July 2004. I was moved by the various things that occurred over the course of shooting. From this I came to understand that the disorder of our world is the same as that of our hearts. This is a film portraying the existence of artists within the present cultural trouble of China. Their artistic creations are a self-expression of society as well as their lives. Just like the common Chinese people in Floating Dust, they are struggling in a disorderly and absurd society. But in contrast to ordinary people, they are sensitive and creative, more or less giving up on the world or being abandoned by it. One thing is clear: that they are enlightened people. After they experience disillusionment, an awareness of their role as “humanity’s conscience” awakens in their hearts, and they hope to search for self-redemption in the turbid human world. Their works are the result of such efforts, seemingly absurd but actually genuine efforts, and the only mark of their existence. They are voices for the silent majority of the era, but speak from the recesses of society, revealing our reality to be only a reflection of their own perceptions. This is also the theme of my own film, an extension of the study and depiction of contemporary Chinese society that began with Floating Dust.
Huang Wenhai was the producer of the 16mm feature film Suburbs of Beijing. In 2002, he directed In the Military Training Camp, chosen for the creative documentaries competition of FIPA (International Festival of Audiovisual Programs) 2003 in Biarritz, France, and the 2003 Montreal World Film Festival. In 2003 he directed Floating Dust, chosen for the First Appearance competition of the 2004 Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival, for the Singapore International Film Festival, and in competition at the 2005 Yunnan Multi Culture Visual Festival (Yunfest).