Release year: 2010
Run time: 80 mins
Film type: Documentary
This film started with me wanting to make a film to memorialize and explore my deep emotions toward my mother, who passed away in 2007. As I was making the film, my thoughts toward it kept shifting, especially as I sorted through the 12 years of footage I had collected, seeing subtleties I had previously overlooked, or reliving experiences that had long since passed. Even more impactful was facing the moving images of my mother, seeing someone dear to me who had already left this world captured with such lifelike movements, utterances, expressions, like it all just happened yesterday. Then I realized this film is not just about remembering her—it’s also an experiment in bringing her back to life. Especially at a time when I was in the process of trying to heal myself, my mother was a crucial element. And so, through my mother, remembrance, the present, healing and self-healing, this film’s structure and narrative form began to naturally materialize.
Wu was born in southwestern China’s Yunnan Province in 1956. After graduating from secondary school in 1974, Wu was sent to the countryside, where he worked as a farmer for four years. Between 1978 and 1982, he studied Chinese literature at Yunnan University. After university, Wu worked for three years as a teacher at a junior high school, and after, for four years in television as a journalist. Wu left television and moved to Beijing in 1988 to be an independent documentary filmmaker, freelance writer, and creator and producer of dance/theatre. Wu has completed ten documentaries, including Bumming in Beijing (1990), 1966, My Time in the Red Guards (1993), Jiang Hu: Life on the Road (1999), Fuck Cinema (2005), Treating (2010), Bare Your Stuff (2010), Because of Hunger: Diary I by Wu (2013), Investigating My Father (2016). These have screened at many film festivals world-wide. He has also published four books of no-fiction.
In 1994, Wu co-founded the independent dance group Living Dance Studio with Wen Hui in Beijing, and created/performed a series of dance performances. These included works like Report on Giving Birth (1999), Report on the Body (2003), Report on 37.8 º (2005), Memory (2008), Memory II: Hunger (2010), which have toured festivals all over the world. In 2005, Wu co-founded the independent art space Caochangdi Workstation in Beijing. Since then, Wu has established a series of documentary and performance programmes, in particular the Village Documentary Project (established in 2005) and Folk Memory Project (established in 2010).