Chinese artist-turned-filmmaker's drama wins acclaim at Locarno film fest
Chinese director and scriptwriter Huang Ran's English-language crime drama film "What Remains" has recently been selected into the Fuori Concorso section at the 76th Locarno International Film Festival and shown to wide acclaim in Switzerland.
Produced by the iQiyi Film Group and Fake Action Truth, the film is the feature directorial debut of Huang, who is also a contemporary artist. In 2014, Huang's short film, "The Administration of Glory," was chosen to compete for the Short Film Palme d'Or at the 67th Cannes Film Festival.
Based on a true case in Europe, the film set in the bleak Scandinavia of the 1990s tells the story of Mads Lake, a man who claimed to be a serial killer of about 30 people but could not remember the murder details. This case aroused a strong interest in psychotherapist Anna Rudebeck and police officer Soren Rank, who were eventually dragged into a tortuous vortex.
From a literary perspective, artist-turned-filmmaker Huang explores the delicate relationships and complex emotional connections of the trio – patient, psychotherapist and police officer. The cold and bleak mysterious thriller is also narrated with psychological clues and an in-depth insight into the complexity of human nature.
At the film festival, director Huang, co-scriptwriter Megan Everett, and the film's cast, including the famous father-son actors Stellan Skarsgård and Gustaf Skarsgård, spoke with audiences about the creation of the film. Leading actress Andrea Riseborough is also an Oscar best actress nominee this year for her superb performance in "To Leslie." Screenings during the film festival were almost full.
After graduation from Birmingham University and Goldsmith's College in the UK, Huang established an international following for his stunning artworks of video, painting, installations, and performance art.
The 41-year-old director told the press at an early interview that just like many people, he first worked hard to find the truth of whether the patient had really killed anyone. During his investigation, however, he found that the truth was no longer so attractive to him. The incident was ultimately defined as a serious miscarriage of justice by the judicial system.
"I wondered why things had turned out like this," Huang said. "My focus gradually shifted away from the result of being either black or white, right or wrong. I started to think about the relationship between the doctor, police officer, and patient behind the case, and how they spent these 20 years."
In his eyes, when people invest enough time, imagination, and desire in each other, resulting in emotional connections, the absolute boundaries of "reality" have already become blurred. There is a wide grayscale between black and white, and people often live in this grayscale. The characters in the film are all trying to choose fate, but in the end, fate chooses them.
The thought-provoking film is expected to be released in China in the near future.