Short Film Corner 2022
GUAN YU AI HE FA YU KE
(ABOUT AMOUR AND FRENCH LESSONS)
May 10, 2022
He starts to learn French again and films his daily life to practice speaking. This thing also reminds him of a past in London, which is his original intention of learning French.
Hello Junyi, it’s great to get to talk with you, how have you been keeping after everything that’s been happening?
I'm staying the same after all this and nothing special has changed. I'm currently a freelancer, and I may go to teach at a film school, but I'll continue to make films.
Have you been able to remain positive and creative at least?
Yes, as a filmmaker it's a must, you have to keep creating and keep writing, I now set myself a rule for at least every year you need to make some videos, whatever.
What does it mean for you to be in the Cannes Short Film Corner with About Amour and French Lessons and what do you hope to take away from this experience?
Participating in these is actually to let more people see this film, and also to meet some like-minded friends. This is my original intention. Including this film, the songs we wanted to use were not able to communicate with each other and could not get permission, so I would like to seek help in post-production or production to see if there is a chance to collaborate on the next project.
How vital are platforms like Cannes SFC in championing and supporting the short film format?
I can say that I am looking forward to and glad to have this kind of platform and help, because it is actually very difficult for young filmmakers to shoot a work and successfully complete the follow-up work, we have always been I am eager to be seen by more people, let everyone know you and enjoy everything that filmmaking brings to us as much as possible. In addition, I think it is very important to be able to help in the creation of all aspects of the short film.
Your films tend to explore somewhat personal themes, do you ever have any apprehensions about creating films that are so deeply connected to you as a filmmaker?
I would say that it was definitely Chris Marker's La jetée that inspired and helped me, he used the text and some associated video material to connect and advance to complete the whole wonderful combination. This left a deep impression on me, and when I was faced with the footage I shot, I thought that this approach might be helpful.
How did About Amour and French Lessons come about, what inspired this screenplay?
In fact, the material in the short film was shot at different stages. Before the first lockdown in London, including after returning to China, I shot some more. The main inspiration was that I had a friend who was studying French at the time, and he posted some diaries about his studies every day. At that time, I actually just put the material I shot aside. Later, through his inspiration, I wondered if I could show a process of learning French, and the content displayed happened to be the material I shot in this series. .
What would you say have been the biggest challenge you faced bringing About Amour and French Lessons to life?
In fact, in this production process, we did not encounter any particular difficulties and challenges. The hardest part is actually how to combine the shooting material with the French lessons. If you find a suitable way of expression, everything will be done naturally.
How important was it for you to be flexible with the screenplay once you started shooting?
In fact, the process of filming is very interesting. We are constantly adjusting the script and the content of the filming. For some texts, we will read the material first and then think about what to write. Fragmented expressions are actually more useful for our creation. flexible. I think that's our advantage.
Have you always had a passion for filmmaking?
Yes, I think filmmaking will be what I have been pursuing. I like this kind of creation and sharing very much, showing everyone the world and what I see in my own eyes.
You’re a graduate of the LFS and the Central Academy of Drama, how much have these experiences helped to guide your filmmaking journey?
It can be said that they are very helpful to me. Coincidentally, the teaching styles of these two schools are actually very similar, which I did not expect before. They pursue practice, pursue artistry, and pay attention to people. I think this is very great, it's very similar to my creations.
How much has your background in a screenwriting and helped you in your approach to directing?
It can be said that I am a creator with preconceived texts, just like Jia Zhangke in China, we all have a concept or a character of a story first, and continue to develop it slowly. It's not the same as some visual-based directors, and I think they're all good. That's the amazing thing for filmmaking.
Is it hard not to be discouraged when something doesn’t plan out the way you hoped?
Of course it will be sad, that's for sure. But what we need to do is how to adjust and do things in line with our expectations within a limited range. Every filmmaking has its shortcomings, and every time you shoot to make the next better, this is the view that I have always adhered to.
What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve taken from making About Amour and French Lessons?
I think the way of expression in this short film is actually a great new attempt, which has also opened up some new perspectives and creative directions for me, which is different from my previous works. But I should not continue to create in this way, but its help will be reflected in my next work.
"At a time when the world has changed significantly, we may miss the good old days more, and if you have the same experience, I hope this is our connection point."
I know you are preparing your debut feature film and I was hoping you would be able to tell me a little bit about this?
Yes, I have a script for a short film in my hands now, and I really hope to get the attention and help of some production companies in Europe. It is about an elderly Chinese woman suffering from aphasia and her lost parrot. At the same time, my feature film will base on this short film. It can be seen as a teaser or some powerful showcase for my feature film, and I also plan to put this short script into the creative process of various film festivals to see if there is a chance to shoot it.
And finally, what would you like audiences to take away from About Amour and French Lessons?
I'm really just sharing my life and some memories of London. At a time when the world has changed significantly, we may miss the good old days more, and if you have the same experience, I hope this is our connection point. I hope that the audience may live a better life after watching it. After all, films are not everything, we still need to focus on our own life.