不虚此行Directed by Liu Jiayin
Cast: Hu Ge, Leo Wu, Qi Xi
Best Director and Best Actor, 2023 Shanghai International Film Festival
A good eulogy smooths over the edges of a person’s life. It glorifies and peppers the story with platitudes. But Wen Shan was trained as a screenwriter and still has scriptwriting dreams, and now that he’s half-reluctantly shifted his career to writing eulogies, he still approaches each life with the diligence of a character study. He finds complexities in the shadows, spending time learning about the deceased from multiple people’s perspectives.
Through the eyes of a screenwriter, Wen Shan discusses and critiques the classic three-act structure. If the first act introduces the character, the second throws them into new territory, and the third, returns to a new equilibrium. ALL EARS is a love letter to the first act, a film devoted to character and people and life. But the possibility of character change lurks in Wen Shan’s own psyche, and it’s up to him if he wants to write a final act for himself.
Directed by Liu Jiayin (Oxhide II, SDAFF 2011), once considered Chinese cinema’s most exciting new director, and who has since gone on to teaching screenwriting at the Beijing Film Academy, ALL EARS is a tribute to storytellers and the legacies they leave behind.
– Laura Skokan
Underwritten by the OCA San Diego Asian Pacific American Advocates.