Hair Tie, Egg, Homework Books 头绳，鸡蛋，作业本
Director Runxiao Luo – 15 minutes
As a model student in her elementary school, 11-year-old Yuqi is assigned to give a speech about her family at the Parent’s Meeting. But after Yuqi finds out that she shares the same secret with a mischievous classmate, she starts to have second thoughts.
What Runxiao Luo does so well with their film is that they allow it to unfold naturally. A calm, patience present pushes the audience to creep forward in their seat as we get nearer to Yuqi’s speech.
Having Hair Tie, Egg, Homework Books filmed in a documentary style also greatly helps you connect to its heartbreaking tale. For each moment we are in the family home, we are worried, and we see a child that is far older than her years—concerned for her mother in every way possible. Be it helping her with chores to make sure her pains are not exacerbated or not wanting her mother to attend the speech because of how difficult she knows it will be for her to cover her black eyes.
No child should have to go through that, and young actress Junyan Miao is tremendous here. Not only does she have to carry the film throughout those family scenes, but also with the realisation that what is happening to her classmate is far too eerily similar.
The tension that is racked up throughout, as mentioned, has you on your edge as the camera focuses on Yuqi from outside of the classroom. When that tension snaps, it is hard and as shocking as you feared. No matter what, though, you are compelled for every second of the 15-minute runtime.
Director: Yuwei Du – 20 minutes
When a young girl moves to a mysterious village, she lives a quiet life as a priestess. But a special ceremony there gradually pushes her into the abyss.
Yuwei Du has marked herself out as a filmmaker who you seriously need to keep an eye on in the future with her sensational debut short Mountain.
So involved in the story, you become that, at one point, you actually forget the time period that the film is set in until it comes harrowingly back down to Earth on our protagonist and us. But, of course, it takes quite the talent to do that, and everyone behind and in front of the camera wields a most unexpected magic.
Du endeavours to remind us of how some parts of society still view women and how easy it is to toss them aside when their apparent use has been fulfilled. With the ever-evolving and interesting dynamic between the older priestess and the younger in training one, we see two actresses at the top of their game, each holding back something from the other. The elder priestess merely wants to get the training out of the way to see if her replacement will succeed. Whereas from the first second she is there, our new priestess wants out. She is unsure and untrusting. Having to sneak around to learn more about this new world she had been thrown into.
Mountain has enough twists and turns and strong visuals that you would be desperate for it to be longer. These are 20 exceptional minutes with enough story to go far longer, but only in the same very capable hands. Everything within the film is so purposeful, each slight change in a persons facial expression means something. There is not a moment wasted here, with the film dripping with substance. Du’s film is one that sticks around in your mind due to how effective and powerful it is. Do not miss this one.
For more of the season check out our reviews below:
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