Zhang Yimou's love letter to film

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, November 29, 2020
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Actress Liu Haocun, director Zhang Yimou, and actor Zhang Yi pose for a photo at the premiere of "One Second" in Beijing, Nov. 26, 2020. [Photo courtesy of Beijing Enlight Media]

China's well-known director Zhang Yimou's latest film "One Second" is a love letter to cinema.

Set in China's northwestern Gansu province in the mid-1970s, "One Second" is an homage to cine film - the now largely obsolete and early age of filmmaking - as well as China's public organized film screenings in rural areas. In the film, an obsessive father who yearns to see just a one-second clip of his missing daughter on a newsreel encounters a homeless female vagabond who wants to steal the film. 

The leading roles are played by Zhang Yi and Liu Haocun, the latter a young actress discovered by Zhang Yimou. The director, 70, has also summoned many long-time collaborating colleagues who share the collective experience of the older era of motion pictures.

"'One Second' is a lingering story in my heart and a memory of my youth, as well as a personal wish for me. I had to make it before I'm too old and weak to film it in the desert," Zhang said at the premiere in Beijing. 

The film weaves together many intricate stories regarding old cinema. The director hoped that the heartwarming story will resonate among its viewers as well as give rise to a nostalgia for feeling for the era of cine film. "No matter how the times change or how technology develops, love for movies will never change," he said.

But the director said it was not easy for him to pick up the story. "Because of the current commercial blockbuster trend driven by today's market, such films can't attract many investors. Even a director with fame like me can probably just make a few films like this because when a film can't make money, nobody will want to further invest in them. Filmmakers like us always hope to have an opportunity to commemorate the era of cine film and summarize the experience in our own way. It's not easy but my wish is fulfilled."

"One Second" was released nationwide on Friday. 

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