Director: Mar-Olivier Harvey
Zhao Min is a young TV and Radio student at the Jilin University in Changchun. Work, study, and sometimes fun, the staples of college life. However, her small figure casts a large shadow: Zhao Min is a descendant of the Manchu royal family, the last dynasty to rule over China before the country became a People’s Republic. Despite being well integrated in modern society, this cultural baggage is not a simple one to manage. This documentary explores the many ways heritage works along – and sometimes collides with – the daily tasks of a hard-working college girl in China.
“Song of the Water”, christened after a nickname give to Zhao Min by her family, is a simple window on a complex lifestyle; one that requires a fine balance between work, cultural heritage, and identity. Without suggesting an answer to such dilemma, this movie offers an intimate outlook on a problem inherent to China that also manages to transcends its cultural barriers and feel familiar to an international audience.
“Who are we? That is the first question. It is a question almost impossible to answer. But we all agree that the busy self occupied in our daily activities is not quite the real self. We are quite sure we have lost something in the mere pursuit of living.”
― Lin Yutang: The Importance Of Living