News  ·  12 | 08 | 2021

Bu yao zai jian a, Yu hua tang (Virgin Blue)

NIU Xiaoyu | Concorso Cineasti del presente

Chinese director Niu Xiaoyu delivers a personal, dreamlike work in the shape of Bu yao zai jian a, Yu hua tang (Virgin Blue), her first fiction feature film after two shorts that toured the festival circuit and her studies at the famed Beijing Film Academy.

Young Yezi is the main character in this emotional dreamer’s journey. One summer, as she goes back to visit her grandmother, who raised her and with whom she has a strong bond but is also gradually overcome by memory loss, the house reawakens memories that progressively come to life, be it in the shape of a lamp, a clock, a bear, a ray of sunshine or Yezi’s late grandfather. The use of shadows and light give the film a subtle tenderness: grandmothers are playful, the mother wants to know the future and the daughter enquires about the past. One overlaps with the other in the space of a dream.

The director explores the passage from conscious to unconscious, as the time flows during a summer afternoon. Time eludes us, and the Portuguese feeling of saudade that comes from it gains poignancy. Monsters and sad children wander in a setting that is both familiar and theatrical. The work with sound and the choice of music contribute actively to this trek towards the supernatural, where we discover the phone number required to talk to our departed loved ones. That is the meaning of the first part of the Chinese title: I don’t want to say goodbye