MEMORIES LOOK AT ME
Directed by Song Fang
Best First Feature, 2012 Locarno Film Festival
Official Selection, 2012 New York Film Festival
Song Fang returns home to Nanjing from Beijing, and spends time with her parents at home. The family reunion is completed by the arrival of her brother and his wife and daughter. In their otherwise commonplace conversations, on everything from marriage to illness, collective memories shift into view and disjunctures between generations become gently remarkable. Like the passing of the day, ordinary moments slip impressively from the lightly comic (as in an episode with a chicken) to the unexpectedly profound, building an anti-melodrama that is utterly moving.
Naturalistic to the core, but also carefully written and composed, MEMORIES LOOK AT ME shares much with the summery improvisations of recent Hou Hsiao-hsien, in whose Flight of the Red Balloon director-writer-actor Song Fang played a supporting role. But it’s with Liu Jiayin’s trailblazing Oxhide II (SDAFF ’11) that Song’s debut feature is in spiritual dialogue. Both films star the director and her parents, all possibly playing themselves, fabulously breaking down barriers between documentary and fiction. With MEMORIES LOOK AT ME, Song Fang further explores domesticity as a space where friends and family reflect on the changes around them. (Practically the entire film is set indoors in their homes.) Between grandmother and granddaughter, Song Fang stands representing a generation in flux, moving from city to city, quietly watching everyone around grow older. –Brian Hu
Co-presented by: Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA)
Cast: Ye Yu-zhu, Song Di-jin, Song Yuan, Song Fang