Winter's Passing (2021)
21min | Drama, Family | Producer, Writer, Director
Winter’s Passing is a coming-of-age narrative short film. Due to his mother’s untimely death and his father’s remarriage, an 8-year-old boy has to live with his grandfather who runs a small urn shop. While reluctantly staying at the shop and trying to return to his father, he meets a woman who wants to buy two identical urns. Through their secret deal, the boy gradually learns the meanings of loss and grief.
Yang Fei, as the writer-director of Winter’s Passing, got the inspiration from an interview she conducted in undergrad. It was around Qingming Festival in China, and she did an interview of some urn shop owners. As an urn shop owner, he/she is quite aware of the risk that those who lost their beloved one might commit suicide. One of the shop owners took over the shop from his father, and so did his father. The shop ran generations and generations, which reflects inheritance in traditional Chinese culture.
Death and growth is a common theme, especially in Asian films. In Winter’s Passing, Yang wants to talk about growth by means of death. An urn shop is one of the places closest to death. In the midst of hopelessness, Xuan tries to fulfill his seemingly hopeless objective while accidentally building subtle connections with others, which finally leads to his growth. Though he doesn’t realize his goal in the end, his growth is reflected in the way he transfers from an observer to an insider, and he adapts himself to the outside world related to death. 
Yang is a big fan of East-Asian films, for example, Edward Yang’s Yiyi and Hirokazu Koreeda’s Still Walking. Those films are good at addressing family issues in a subtle and implicit way, which gives the audience more room to interpret the subtext. Also, coming-of-age is usually a sub theme in East-Asian films. The directors try to tell the stories from the perspective of a child, and meanwhile they balance the objectivity and subjectivity quite well. Yang's visual style is significantly influenced by those directors and films. The realistic style positions me as a lucid observer, while capturing some subtle details positions me as an empathetic insider. That is what she wants to achieve in my film.