Qiu Yang’s Director Statement on ‘A Gentle Night’

A Gentle Night is nominated for Best Picture at Pendance, and won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 2017. Qiu explains his vision and concept below.

Qiu Yang’s Director Statement on ‘A Gentle Night’

As a filmmaker, I’m always interested in looking for inspiration and characters from real life. The story of the film comes from a seemingly mundane local news:

A young girl suddenly went missing, few days later, more girls disappeared from the same area. However, after about two weeks, all the missing girls just walked back home, from nowhere, with no explanation.

I was fascinated by this report, and mostly by what was not on the page. The news just stayed with me, for days. Why would the girls go missing, what happened to them, and what did the family do after the girls went missing?

Then I incorporated the motif I always explore: the traditional Chinese ideology. In Confucianism, we have five sacred figures that we are supposed to worship, “Sky, earth, sovereign, father and teacher.” In nowhere does it mention anything about women or children. And this is what shaped the undertone of our society for thousands of years.

So, I was curious to explore, what would happen, when an ordinary Chinese woman, with her daughter missing, decides to go against all these ideology undertones? After all the centuries went by, are we Chinese really different from the past?