My “Actor”, my father and mother
In the fall of 2020, my father was admitted to the PLA 921 Hospital again. During that time, every time I returned to Changsha, I went straight to the hospital to see him who had been bedridden for too long. At night, my father didn’t let me stay in bed, and asked me to go home quickly to accompany my equally elderly mother.
The next morning, in my father’s study, I was flipping through a photo album of my father. It was a family memory, and most of the photos were familiar to me. But this time, when I opened a small photo album, a photo suddenly slipped down. I picked it up and saw it was a star photo from the 1960s. , that is the makeup photo of “Early Spring in February”. At this time, my mother came in, and I said, my father is really a “literary youth”, my mother said, no, your father loved watching movies back then.
In the afternoon, I accompanied my mother to my father’s hospital bed. My father nodded slightly, and he was not able to talk much. Mom took his hand, and the two elders stared at each other wordlessly. Time is ruthless, our fathers and mothers are so old, old. I know that pictures like this will become history. In front of the hospital bed, I will also tell my parents what I have been busy with recently.
The military compound where I lived when I was a child had a new movie release once or twice a week. On the way to the movie, my dad would always introduce me to the background of the movie. I remember this scene very clearly. He walked fast and spoke fast, and I listened with relish. Maybe that’s how I fell in love with movies. Later, I took up work related to film.
When I interviewed Xie Fang for the first time in 1996, when I went to her house, she had black hair and was sitting in front of a piano. Now that I think about it, she was in her early 60s. After the chat, she asked me: Who is your father? I said, you should not know, my father was in the army. Then we talked about where they were from and so on.
In 2018, when I was shooting the documentary film “The Actor”, I brought the film camera team to film two teachers, Xie Fang and Zhang Mu. While debugging the machine, she suddenly repeated “twenty-two” several times. I asked her: What twenty two? She said: It has been 22 years since we first met, you came to me. I was surprised, I quickly counted the time, but no, 22 years.
She also said that you are also 22 about interviewing 22 big stars, which is interesting. I was very happy at the time, Xie Fang is such a very smart and agile woman, time is passing, and under the protection of Zhang Mu, her “girly feeling” has always been there, which is amazing.
So later I saw the yellowed star photos of Xie Fang in my father’s study, and I also found it interesting. This is the way of communication among that generation. The screen couple Zhang Mu and Xie Fang are similar in age to my parents, which is what makes me feel cordial.
I rarely communicate with my family members about these work exchanges with the artists, but I especially wanted to share it with my family during the shooting of Yu Lan.
In July 2018, the first day of the documentary film “The Actor” for Lan was about to end. I asked Yu Lan: What is your current wish? She answered very succinctly: I am quietly waiting for the arrival of death.
Hearing this, I was a little stunned. This is a materialist’s attitude towards death, so open-minded and so fearless…. Even, it is a bit of a challenge to the unknown death. Then, something blocked my throat: this was a woman after all, and she was a tiny old lady at the moment. Who gave her such energy and made her so firm and calm in her long life?
At that moment, I firmly believed in the value and significance of my work. Everyone gets old, everyone has loved ones who are getting older, everyone has their own story, their own youth, and the person you loved. Everyone, perhaps, can find their present, past or future self in others.
That night, I read again all the biography or autobiography of Yu Lan that I could get my hands on. I read a chapter: the news of the victory of the Anti-Japanese War reached Yan’an, Yu Lan opened the window and saw her husband Tian Fang and several Yan’an’s The strong young people play the Ansai waist drum together and celebrate the victory. This scene is very visual. I decided to recreate this plot in my film: the crew had to go to Yan’an to shoot.
It’s been two years since I found new investment to shoot in Yan’an and other locations. I know that this is something that must be faced in making such a film.
In February 2020, when the epidemic was more severe, I sometimes came to Chaoyang Park for a walk, while thinking about the fate of my movie. One day after the Spring Festival, there was a lot of snow, and I came to the park again. In the huge park, except me, I could only see one or two people in the distance. The world was white and the world seemed solemn and cold. At this time, I suddenly received a WeChat message from a friend: Yu Lan passed away… My first instinct was not to believe it. Sure enough, I received another WeChat message: Yu Lan’s death is fake news.
Only then did I dare to throw away the phone and look at all the frozen scenery in this winter. I exhaled a long breath, trying to make this depressed and uncomfortable feeling shattered by the cold air. At that moment, I realized that they were me. such an important person in life.
Just before that, I talked to my father on the hospital bed about Yu Lan and some of the things she said to me. My father, who was in the army and horse all his life, could not accept the reality that he was bedridden for a long time. He was a little pessimistic in treatment and emotionally. Mother and our children also hoped that he would be relieved, so I said slowly, as if I also felt the old man nodded slightly in approval, and the different light in his eyes.
However, a few months later, the news of Yu Lan’s death came. This is 23 months after I photographed her. “I’m waiting for the arrival of the god of death…” She was not sad, she went to reunite with Tian Fang in the sky.
In the autumn of 2020, when the epidemic was best controlled, the film crew assembled again, and we also came to Yan’an. This trip to Yan’an was specially for Yu Lan and Tian Fang. I tried to follow in their footsteps: 16-year-old Yu Lan acted for the first time in Yan’an, and then got to know someone ten years older than her who was in Shanghai before. Tian Fang is already a movie star. In the “Tian Fang and Yu Lan Memorial Hall” not far from Lu Yi, I saw many precious pictures. Looking at the pictures of Yu Lan smiling when she was young, I think her life will last forever.
I graduated from university and stayed in Beijing to work. Even though my parents came to live in Beijing from time to time, I was separated from my second elder more often. In Beijing, the two seniors Yu Yang and Yang Jing were relatively close to me. The reason is simple: they really look like my parents. Mr. Yu Yang, speaks too much like my father, and has a good eloquence. Aunt Yang Jing, occasionally “resents” his wife, but is more docile, like my mother.
The first time I found out that they were like my parents was when we talked about how they couldn’t find the right babysitter, and at the same time, our family was searching for a babysitter who could take care of my sick dad. After experience, I found that the problems faced by the elderly are so close. Then, when they were leaving, they asked me again and again and told me if I had brought this one, and that one should not be left behind. When will I come back, be careful on the road, the same as my parents’ instructions every time I leave home.
That time, when I walked out of the room, my tears welled up: This scene made me miss home and my parents. On another level, I know that their son Yu Xiaoyang died young and their daughter Jingjiang sister was abroad. Even though they have come back to accompany them to the greatest extent possible, the two elders are still mostly alone.
Thanks also for this documentary film “The Actor”, this is when they are getting older, I approached them again, at this stage, it seems that they also need me a bit. On certain days, I will visit, and sometimes I communicate with Aunt Yang Jing on WeChat and send pictures. When visiting, I also send pictures to Sister Jingjiang immediately to make her feel at ease when she is outside. What makes me happy is that their bodies and other aspects are in pretty good shape. So, sometimes when I go home to reunite with my parents, and when I say goodbye, I see and hear the kind of advice from my parents. Can you think of Uncle Yu Yang and Aunt Yang Jing?
Shooting them is to keep their current style on the big screen! Their youthful appearance has been engraved in those outstanding film works fifty or sixty years ago. However, whether as an excellent actor individually or as a group as the “Top 22 New China Movie Stars”, Is the life, state, and thoughts of their old age worth keeping? The visual shock that they are today, and their most dazzling film sequences on black and white film, sometimes surprises me as a director. They are still so attractive when they are old, maybe, this is the magic of the movie?
At the end of this film, I originally added a subtitle: I would like to dedicate this film to my father, mother, and that generation… But unfortunately, it was later asked to delete it. I fully understand it and follow the rules. . But in fact, what I wanted to express is: 1. My parents, and the younger group of them, are contemporaries, and they are the relationship between the audience and the film actors. 2.
My father passed away on January 7, 2021 due to illness, at the age of 89, a happy mourning. He didn’t wait for the day when the movie was released, although I also imagined at the time that if the movie could be shot early, it would be shown to his old man on the computer, because it was impossible for him to go to the cinema, because he loved watching movies, not to mention , a film directed by his son. Father. farewell!
Another, regret and fortunate: about the film itself, there are regrets, I understand with my debut: film, is the art of regret.
However, I am more fortunate: the film truly records and shows the unique style of the protagonists. The emotion of the film is sincere and the technique is simple. The experimental nature of the film and the occasional roughness are my personal interests, and I look forward to your discovery and judgment.
That’s enough, thanks, thanks, what I want most is that you walk into the theater and watch “The Actor” on the big screen.
Author by Mr.Pan