Winter Vacation (Han Jia)
Li Hongqi’s third film is a deadpan comedy about four teenagers on the last day of the winter holiday in a small industrial town in northern China. Not much is happening and the bored kids hang around aimlessly, lacking the energy even to get into trouble. As the clock ticks away, the kids argue, debate, and question school’s value and relevance to real life. One young boy sits in a room with his very depressed grandfather, who won’t let him play outside. He proposes running away with a little girl so that they can be orphans, which seems like a great idea at that point. Director Hongqi uses a fixed camera to record the slow and repetitive lives of the villagers, and uses humor as Woody Allen or Aki Kaurismäki might—gleaning laughs out of a sense of hopelessness. The accumulation of misery and boredom becomes, in fact, hilarious in this dark comedy, which won the Golden Leopard at last year’s Locarno Film Festival.
2010. China. 91 minutes.
Writer/Director/Editor: Li Hongqi
Producer: Alex Chung
Executive Producer: Ning Cai
Consultants: Chang Sanling, Zhang Xianmin, Xu Wei
Artistic Directors: Qin Yurui, Y Xiadong
Cinematography: Qin Yurui
Music by: Zuoxiao Zuzhou and The Top Floor Circus
Cast: Bai Junjie, Zhang Naqi, Bai Jinfeng, Xie Ying, Wang Hui, Bao Lei, Bai Xiaohong, Zhi Feng, Wu Guoxiong, Jiang Chao
2010. Afghanistan. Directed by Shahrbanoo Sadat. 10 min.
An Afghan girl builds a symbolic “voting” system by collecting everyday objects from her neighbors.