A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

My Photo
Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Beijing Taxi

Beijing Taxi
Miao Wang With one Chinese lesson under our belts, Alma and I, along with my screenwriting buddy W. T. Brooks, headed down to Hartford to see Beijing Taxi at Real Art Ways. Are we optimistic or what? We caught "hao," "xai jian," "ba," and a few other words, but overall I'd have to say: thank God for subtitles.
The real draw was meeting the director, Miao Wang, for a discussion after the film. (There she is with Bill; the other photo is a still from the film.) Miao is Chinese-born, but immigrated to the U.S. after Tianamen Square. Struck by the changes each time she returned to Beijing, she decided to make a film that would capture the spirit of her rapidly-evolving city. The months leading up to the Beijing Olympics seemed the perfect time; the gregarious taxi drivers the perfect guides. After riding in many taxis and lurking in many driver-frequented noodle shops, she narrowed her protagonists to three: Bai Jiwen, Zhou Yi, and Wei Caixia.
Miao became quite attached to her stars, particularly to Wei Caixia, a young married woman with one daughter. There was an endearing sweetness to all three drivers, but particularly Wei, who has an unfocused yearning for "freedom." She doesn't really want to drive a cab, she doesn't really want to run a shop, she doesn't really want--as her husband continually suggests--to work full-time. She would like to give her daughter things she didn't have as a child: real art lessons, for example. She dreams of her daughter becoming an artist. If she hadn't been driving through the streets of Beijing, speaking Mandarin, I would have pegged her for an American.

Labels: , ,