Kite is the moving portrait of four Chinese women across generations. The three young Chinese women—Patrice, Viola and Yuni—allude to the intersection of mental health and one’s experience as a member of the diaspora of Chinese youth. The filmmaker’s grandmother, Suqin, speaks about the Great Chinese Famine sixty years ago and foreshadows the continuation of a collective memory of trauma in a younger generation. The film explores the relationship between time and memory, the shifting definition of health, feminine embodiment, and the question of labels. Kite is an illustration of the weight of time and responsibility, a testament to the never-ending nostalgia and regret, yet it is also a hopeful portrayal of the possibilities of changing and becoming. While witnessing how four Chinese women in different generations have responded to pain, the film also spotlights their resilience when facing overwhelming social and bodily constraints.

Credits

  • Yumeng He Director
  • Nicoletta Nomicou Composer
  • Yumeng He Cinematographer
  • Yumeng He Editor
  • Keyhan Bayegan Colorist Mulan (2020), Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)
  • Bin Lin Sound Mixer
  • Andree Lin Sound Mixer

Specifications

  • Project Type: Documentary, Student, Short
  • Genres: Personal, Essay Film, Female, China
  • Runtime: 30 minutes 46 seconds
  • Completion Date: August 22, 2020
  • Production Budget: 1,000 USD
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Country of Filming: United States
  • Language: Chinese, English
  • Shooting Format: Digital
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Film Color: Color
  • First-time Filmmaker
  • Student Project

Director Statement

KITE will always be special to me because it witnesses my personal journey of searching for an identity while feeling like an in-betweener betwixt two cultures, two places and two times.

I started this ethnographic film project after a casual chat with one of the film’s participants, Yuni, in late January 2019, with a sudden realization that I could relate to many experiences of a mental health patient to my own unexplainable sadness and emotional disturbance. The film’s style and its focused contemplation on time and memory were inspired by the works of Andrei Tarkovsky and Chris Marker. KITE is about the embodied sickness. The individual body should be regarded as the most immediate space where social truths and cultural contradictions are being performed, as well as a site of personal and collective resistance and creativity. KITE is not an exploitative representation of the sufferings, but a narrative that highlights individual agency when facing overwhelming social constraints. I envisage my audience to understand how personal history and China’s cultural past are intertwined and are affecting young Chinese women’s emotional health after watching this film. I want my audience to see the emotional weight and bodily pains that these young women are carrying, but also to recognize that they are carrying these hardships with grace and imagination.