Self-Portrait with Three Women
CHINA / 2010 / Chinese / Color / Blu-ray (SD) / 75 min
Director, Editing: Zhang Mengqi
Photography: Zhang Mengqi, Zhang Yan
Source: Zhang Mengqi
The 23-year-old director, fresh out of university, lives at home with her mother and grandmother. She rebels against them but also tries to understand the generation gap between them. While she gets angry and questions their expectations of her as a woman (i.e., to marry and have children), she also gropes for the meaning of real love. Along with her mother and grandmother, the three women wring out their loves and hates with explosive strength. The director in her performance piece uses her own body to project the images of her mother, turning her lost loves into springboards, practically jumping out of the screen so she can shout with all her might.
[Director’s Statement] This year I turned 23, the age when women become pregnant with dreams. Yet, even while nursing our own dreams, we must carry the burdens of two other women’s dreams as well. This film began with my own search, then delved into the lives of my mother and her mother, following the blood that has flowed through three generations, in these women who grew up in such different times. As a victim of an oppressive marriage, my grandmother held hopes that my mother would enter a beautiful, perfect marriage. When my mother became a victim herself, she transferred those hopes to me. Marriage may be every girl’s dream, but it is also the murderer of those dreams.
Born in 1987, Zhang Mengqi graduated from the Dance Academy of China Minorities University in 2008. Now she works as a freelance dancer/choreographer and documentary filmmaker in Beijing. She created the dance works Self-Portrait and Dialogue with My Mother (2009) and Self-Portrait and Sexual Self-Education (2010). Self-Portrait with Three Women is her first feature-length documentary.