VENICE, Italy, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) — A young Chinese female director has paid tribute to the late French New Wave director Eric Rohmer over her discreet, luminous and gentle movie entitled The Three Adventures of Brooke.
The film was one of 11 selections at Venice Days, an independent film showcase that has been running parallel to the Venice Film Festival.
Directed by 30-year-old Beijing Film Academy graduate Yuanqing Zhu, it features a Chinese and Malaysian cast along with award-winning French actor Pascal Greggory, who has acted in Rohmer’s films before.
It tells three versions of a story centered on Brooke, a young woman from Beijing who travels to the Malaysian town of Alor Setar — an uneventful spot by the sea.
Played by Chinese actress Xu Kangri, Brooke is on a different existential quest in each of the tales, which all begin on the same day following the same inciting incident — her bicycle blows a tire — but take off in three directions due to what director Zhu calls “slight changes in the universe.”
In each tale, Brooke meets new people and spends time with them in conversations that touch on themes of morality, social changes, and the nature of love, friendship, and mourning.
“With my sincere and deepest respect for Eric Rohmer, I hope my film can demonstrate the light, warm, private and controlled side of life’s uncertainties,” said Zhu, who wrote and edited her debut feature film.
The movie has used many long shots and low-key editing, a spare use of music and ambient sounds — birdsong, traffic, flowing water, wind in the trees, and waves breaking on the shore.
The film also chose to use only available lights to give another nod to Rohmer.
“We cancelled the gaffer crew and did not use any movie lights — just natural light, and what was already there,” cinematograher Zhu Jingjing told Xinhua. “The street is the street, the beach is the beach, night is night — out of respect for Rohmer.”