Cast: Li Chuan, Wang Luying, Wei Ruguang
Official Selection, 2019 Berlin International Film Festival
Grand Prize, 2019 Jeonju International Film Festival
Li and Ma share a bed in a makeshift underground home – Ma, who works a day shift, sleeps at night, while Li, a nightwatchman, sleeps during the day. Their overlapping minutes every dawn are barely intimate, spent scrolling through their phones bleary-eyed from unnatural routines. But for Li, a migrant worker alone in Beijing, these moments are a respite from the city above which he knows primarily as an empty glass castle observed alone at night. As if grasping for human interaction, Li wanders the city before or after work, soaking in the strange rhythms and sounds of shopping centers or busy street corners.
Faces are rare in FROM TOMORROW ON, I WILL, obscured in darkness or the opaque surfaces of the modern city. Li wanders through a formidable metropolis as seen from the ground. These are strange views of a Beijing constantly shedding its skin to make way for new textures–quite literally in the repeated images of construction tarp, trees wrapped in foil, or images wallpapered on every facade. Echoing the absurd mise-en-scene of Tsai Ming-liang’s or Jacques Tati’s cities, FROM TOMORROW ON, I WILL sets a quiet drama in a bustling, living city whose rapid architectural transformations turn the ground over like twists of a Rubik’s Cube, uprooting migrants from their homes and leaving them to wander ever-new surfaces.
With the Hong Kong protests in the background, a reluctant grandson accompanies his grandfather to China to protect their ancestral lands from being reclaimed.