SFIFF56: Memories Look at Me by Song Fang

Song Fang’s first feature film honors the most simple yet necessary of human endeavors: maintaining family ties. That Miss Song films her own family is both moving and familiar – by the end you start to feel like a part of her family. There are moments of startling and simple gentleness as we watch Fang grooming her parents (her dad’s ears, her mom’s eyebrows), and her mom cheerfully taking her dad’s blood pressure. These are no facile gestures of affection, but serious moments of care and love which seal the family ties even as the individual members go about their own lives.

This film also blurs the line between fiction and non-fiction. On one hand, non-fiction: these are real people going through the narrative of their life, with no regard to whether or not the audience might find it compelling. On the other hand it has the veneer of fiction, because of its domestic setting, the serene quality of its storytelling and the absence of a grand opinion or exposé which non-fiction films often have. What does it mean when we turn the camera on ourselves? Is it a portrait? An art-house home movie? A reality show?

Memories Look at Me. Dir. Song Fang. Xtream Pictures, 2012. In Mandarin.

In competition at the SFIFF (New Directors section) and winner of the Best First Feature Award at the 2012 Locarno Film Festival.

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