[BIFF WORLD] Vanishing Days
ZHU Xin | China | 2018 | 93min | New Currents
OCT 08 B1 20:00 OCT10 L5 13:30 OCT12 C7 11:00
Tender, yet perplexing, Zhu Xin’s eccentric drama Vanishing Days, heralds the arrival of an idiosyncratic talent to Chinese film-making. After a brief pre-credits, sequence depicting a couple loston an island, Vanishing Days initially appears to be a typical Mainland indie about urban alienation of a Chinese family. Not much seems to happen as barechested Father shouts; Mother stares wistfully at apartment towers and their teenage daughter, Senlin (Jiang Li) when not fussing over her pet turtle, scribbles and sketches in a diary. So far, so blah, but mesmerising electronic soundtrack music gives a clue that more is going on than meets the eye. While Dad walks in the park and meets a boy with the same name as his daughter, reminisces from a visiting Aunt (HuangJing) connects dots between the non-drama and the film’s mysterious beginning. Senlin’s jottings are used as intermittent title cards suggesting that the schoolgirl is actually constructing the narrative we
are watching using family secrets as her source material.But at the same time the script artfully offers the possibility that we’re actually watching a ghost story. Either way, audiences are going to spend substantial
amounts of time arguing about what is real and what’s not, but will agree that Zhu Xin is a talent to watch.