April 2 2016 – Distant


Saturday, April 2, 2016 at 6:00pm
Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston


Directed by Zhengfan Yang
Produced by Shengze Zhu and Zhengfan Yang
Cinematography and Art Direction by Shengze Zhu
2013, China, 88 minutes, HD digital projection, color
Preview | Facebook EventFilm WebsiteTickets

Director Zhengfan Yang will attend in person for a discussion with Yangqiao Lu, who writes about cinema for ArtForum China, La Furia Umana, Brooklyn Rail and LEAP magazine. 

“The coastal city of Zhuhai, once a small fishing village in southern China, began its process of industrialization in the 1980s, and now exists as a special economic area in a now-burgeoning Chinese economy. Zhengfan Yang’s debut feature is set in Zhuhai, his hometown, whose process of historical change the director has elected to depict by way of 13 static, long, “distant” takes, the camera situated far away from his “characters,” with little discernible connections between each scene. Yang focuses on subtle moments wherein the city’s residents suddenly are forced to confront modernity, finding themselves lost in transition. Yang’s highly esoteric and beautifully photographed work evokes both Chinese landscape painting, as well as filmmakers as diverse as James Benning and Roy Andersson – each long take – a building block, if you will – contains confidently choreographed action, in turns tragic and farcical, all in the name of exploring the psychological distance felt by its alienated characters, who persist with their lonely lives in a rapidly industrializing geography, with no control over their destinies or their culture.”
– Mark Peranson, Cinema Scope

“Small actions unfold within the frame—a man hunts for a lost cell phone, an old man traverses a subway station, a little girl unleashes fish into a swimming pool—and it becomes the spectator’s task to pick them out and follow them. The film thus contrives a little game with the viewer, but embedded in each seemingly mundane sequence shot is the implication of critique, a witty observation about modern life, or perhaps just a pleasurable uncertainty about the film’s fictive and documentary content.” – Rachael Rakes & Leo Goldsmith, The Brooklyn Rail


Festival del film Locarno, Switzerland (2013)
Vancouver International Film Festival, Canada (2013)
Warsaw Film Festival, Poland (2013)
Festival des 3 Continents, France (2013)
China Independent Film Festival, China (2013)
Taipei Film Festival, Taiwan (2013)
Asian Film Festival, Reggio Emilia, Italy (2013)
University of Heidelberg, Germany (2013)
South Taiwan Film Festival, Taiwan (2014)
Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, China (2014)
Rencontres a La Campagne, France (2014)
Centro de Arte Contemporanea e Fotografia, Brazil (2014)

Zhengfan Yang (Director/Producer) was born in 1985, China. He started making films at 22, when he graduated from law school. He co-founded Burn The Film Production House in 2010 and directed several short films, including Ten Years Later (2010), I Travel Through Time To Meet You Again (2011), and The Surroundings (2011). His debut feature, Distant (2013), world premiered in Festival del film Locarno and later screened in Vancouver, Nantes, Warsaw, and among others. Where Are You Going (2016) is his second feature, which is also the second part of his “The Outsider Trilogy”. Where Are You Going had its world premiere at the 2016 International Film Festival Rotterdam.

Shengze Zhu (Producer/Cinematographer) was born in 1987, China. Initially a photographer, she co-founded Burn The Film Production House in 2010. She has worked as producer and cinematographer for several films, including Distant (2013). Out of Focus (2014) is her directorial debut, which world premiered at the 36th Cinéma du Réel International Documentary Film Festival.