b. 1971, Beijing, China
Yang Fudong was born in Beijing in 1971, he lives and works in Shanghai. Yangs poetic films are characterised by long takes and minimal dialogue.
The film’s evocative scenes are inspired by both Chinese film history, such as Shanghai’s unique film community of the 1920s and 30s, and American films, such as Jim Jarmusch’s black-and-white films of the 1980s. Yang’s films are both aesthetical and symbol-laden, with loose narrative structures that enable them to be interpreted in a variety of ways. His films address human relationships, and he often portrays young people of his own generation who are torn between the past and the present, tradition and modernity.
Three of Yang’s early films are presented here. Honey depicts a woman who is dressed in a Mao uniform and fishnet stockings. She is in a flat where men in uniforms are coming and going. The mysterious atmosphere of the film is reminiscent of spy films, and the title could play on the concept of the honey trap, which refers to a situation where a woman uses her sexuality to blackmail men in positions of power. Lock Again also has an ambivalent atmosphere. Here two men in white police uniforms appear to be on the run. They are covered in blood and sometimes handcuffed together. They row a boat together with a woman, but their escape attempt proves to be futile when the boat ends up in an indoor swimming pool. The Half Hitching Post explores the increasing gap between rural and urban China. In the film we see two young men on their way to an isolated village in northern China, while at the same time a young couple tries to leave the same. The human drama is staged in a long, flat terrain, which is reminiscent of traditional Chinese landscape paintings. Seen as a whole, the three films are atmospheric accounts of alienation and rootlessness in modern China.