Directed by Xiaofeng Li
NEZHA, a Taipei Golden Horse nomination, is a microcosm of developing China from the 90s to 00s. The film takes the audience back to the 90s and to a rural city Baocheng in China. Wang Xiaobing is a middle school “good student” who lives in two extremes, the most complicated and the simplest. A broken pair of parents makes her learn the hypocrisy of the adult world. Literature keeps her reside in her inner world, where honesty and loyalty to what one believes is the only living code. Li Xiaolu, a transfer student fortifies Xiaobing’s inner castle when she enters her life wearing a confidence that her peers do not have. Xiaobing admires Xiaolu’s strong sense of justice, which does not agree with cultural norms and school rules. However, their distinct experience separates the two best friends gradually.
The audience’s visual perception accompanies Xiaobing’s emotion fluctuations. The cinematography captures the dark-lit household, structured classroom as well as the wide field and green landscape, echoing the contrast between societal reality and Xiaobing’s inner Utopia. Years past, the two worlds coexist and both are fragmented; neither of the two has force to terminate the other, until Xiaobing makes a decision to make only one world survive.
Co-presented by: New York Asian Women’s Center
Xiaofeng Li is a Chinese director, writer, and film critic. He enrolled in Hogeschool Sint-Lukas Brussels in 2001 to study filmmaking. From 1999 to 2004, he was well-known for his film critiques written under the pen name “Liar”, and published his book of film essays The Dawn Says Goodnight. In 2002, he joined director Lu Chuan’s workshop as a Creative Consultant. In 2007, he became one of the scriptwriters and lead actors for Zhang Yuan’s Dada’s Dance, which was an official entry to The Sundance Film Festival and Dubai International Film Festival. In 2012, he published The Song of Losers, a collection of short stories. NEZHA is his debut feature.