JANUARY 22, 2021
CHN | 6 minutes | 2019
Drama short film directed by Xinyi Zhu
Starring Xiaojia Li, Jamie C.X. Wang
Chinese title: 有的女人
A family crisis happens back home in China when a single mother visits her daughter for her graduation ceremony in the US. The two women are forced to reevaluate their relationship when they spend the difficult time together.
Xinyi Zhu’s Certain Women gives us a tender, quiet look at a mother and daughter relationship over the course of the night before the daughter’s graduation ceremony. Filmed in a single location, the film is a gentle portrait about compromises and love.
The mother, Mei (Xiaojia Li), has come to the United States to attend her daughter Lili’s (Jamie C.X. Wang) graduation ceremony. The night before, they share sweet moments together reconnecting, talking about Mei’s father – Lili’s grandfather – and the graduation the next day. In the middle of the night, Mei receives a phone call from family in China informing her that her father’s situation has worsened. Stuck in a dilemma, Mei must decide if she should return to China immediately and miss Lili’s graduation, or stay for the graduation and risk not being able to say goodbye to her father.
The cinematography choices are excellent in allowing us to observe the characters and their relationship with each other without being invasive, and the two leads give convincing and sensitive performances as mother and daughter. While the film and its framing may seem simple on the surface, each scene and moment are complex and emotional, culminating in a heartfelt ending with an understanding stemming from love between two women.
Certain Women is one of the many great projects shared with CineAsian Films through our submissions process. If you’d like to join them, submit your film.
Director, Writer, Producer, Editor: Xinyi Zhu
Cinematographer: Harrison Holland-McCowan
Editor: Mikel Dever
More from Xinyi Zhu: Quarantine-Zine Connections