1999 &

partita

A collection of short film projects from Short Film Production II course at Communication University of China (Spring 2017). In this course, each team (3 students) was required to shoot 3 short dramas in the semester, allowing each student to have the chance of being a director, producer or cinematographer to gain hands-on production experience.

 1999 

Introduction
1999 was the first project in the course, in which I worked as the director, screenwriter, and editor. In my sophomore year, I was strongly fascinated with romantic movies of the 90s Hong Kong such as Comrades Almost a Love Story, Chungking Express, and so on. Also, I happened to read the history of Hong Kong experiencing economic depression in 1999, the closing year of the 20th century. The reflection of individual's fate and historical background has always been attractive to me, since a chaotic and vulnerable society can fully set off the intimacy or alienation among individuals by contrast. Also, I took a course named Study on Literature Masterpiece Films in that spring, during which the professor screened the movie Lolita (1998) in the class. I haven't read the original work before, but somehow I was attracted to the feeling of distance between the two protagonists, so I decided to write a story about a mature man and a high school girl.
Visual Design and Toning
During the production, I designed the visual style of 1999 with my cinematographer teammate and we agreed to use low-key images to capture the vagueness between two characters. Also, after watching some references, we decided to use green and red color as our main tone, representing the depressed atmosphere and the subtle hope brought by the girl. With my Cantonese friends acting and dubbing, and my wonderful teammates helping, we successfully created the feelings of Hong Kong city while shooting in Beijing. Henceforth, although the story is simple and kind of flawed, 1999 has still been my favorite work of myself in the course.
 
 
Nomination
  • Short drama section (online screening), 7th 24 Frames & Creative Media Festival, 2017
 
Synopsis
The story happened in HongKong at the end of the 20th century during the economic depression. On the New Year's Eve, A-Kun who just got divorced hoped to stay away from all the bustle outside. At that time he was crushed by both his career and the broken family. He had nowhere to go instead of seeing an unpopular film in a quiet cinema. When the film was screening, he had a short encounter inside the cinema with a girl who just ran away from home and also planned to spend the night hiding in the cinema.

 Partita 

Introduction
Partita is a music video that tells the story of a girl who was passionate about playing the piano since her childhood had always pursued the dream of becoming a successful pianist. In her path of chasing success, she also encountered a beautiful relationship. However, later her boyfriend was found a drug addict and he tricked the girl to fall into drugs too. In a dark room, she planned to play the last song, her favorite Canon, before injecting methamphetamine again. During the song, somehow the fluctuating rhythm and melody reflected her whole life with the passion for the piano... 
In this project, I worked as the Director of Photography and Production Designer.
My Responsibilities
I constructed a focused setting with strong contrast between light and dark, highlighting a conflicting inner world of the protagonist. I used symbolic items, such as toys, a competition certificate, red candles, a red dress, and a black photo frame, to represent different stages of the protagonist’s life. Color also played a role. The blue certificate demonstrated the logical and knowledgeable part of the protagonist, red represented her craziness and sin in taking drugs, and the breaking of a black photo frame implied her death. With the help of these symbols, the team was able to tell a compact story in five minutes, half of the time limit set by our instructor.
 
Awards
  • First Prize of the 2nd National College Student Network Culture Festival - Public Service Advertising, Ministry of Education and Office of the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission, January 2018

© 2020 by Jiewen Chen