石門Directed by Huang Ji, Ryuji Otsuka
Cast: Yao Honggui
- Unknown Pleasures
- Hunanese, Mandarin
- 147 mins
- West Coast premiere
Official Selection, 2022 Giornate Degli Autori, Venice Film Festival
Official Selection, 2022 New York Film Festival
Twenty-year-old Lynn has big plans for learning English and becoming a flight attendant. She’s dabbling in the right crowd of jet-setters and even has a celebrity-in-training boyfriend. Their hangouts look like the pages of Vogue China come to life. So when Lynn discovers she’s pregnant, she needs to act quickly and surreptitiously. An opportunity emerges to relinquish her unwanted baby while saving her mother’s troubled business, but the market for human life is never as it seems.
Directors Huang Ji and Ryuji Otsuka (The Foolish Bird, SDAFF ’17) depict an upwardly-mobile, cosmopolitan China that feeds on the manicured bodies of the young and impressionable. While hanging out with some influencer “experts,” Lynn is told “you sell the products when you sell yourself.” But what appears to be the superficial performance of urban cool turns out to be symptomatic of a larger societal dependency on surrogate bodies—for sale or rent—to preserve the gilded illusions of progress. STONEWALLING doesn’t fall for the dazzle. In measured, impressively calculated strides, the film slowly unspools a striking narrative of a woman who chooses to call her own shots, inevitably shielding her from the world, rendering her a lone body in a cold, geometric cityscape.