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Director Interview of ‘Is There a Pine on the Mountain?’

November 28, 2023 | Light of Asia 3 | JAFF18


Liu Chongyan

Director of Is There a Pine on the Mountain?

France, 2022, 38 mins

[Part of the Light of Asia 3 program]

The mother of the filmmaker’s boyfriend arrives from China to visit them in their small Parisian apartment. The ensuing quarrels between mother and son gradually reveal his violent streak.

1. At what point did you decide to film the quarrels?

It wasn’t my initial intention to capture what you see in the kitchen: they just happened to start arguing and the camera was left on record whilst I was taking a shower. Everything about their quarrel is natural.

2. How bad did the quarrels get?

I view them as the catalyst which led to our eventual separation, so I wouldn’t necessarily say these quarrels were “bad” but rather necessary, for they allowed me to see him for who he really was.

3. Did you intervene or you just shot without any role?

The only role I played was to capture the reality as it played out in front of me.

4. Do you always have a handy camera for any eventuality?

It’s very habitual. Some things you capture just happen to be fairly significant.

5. Has it screened anywhere else? 

The film has been in competition at a number of festivals — the most notable being IDFA in the Netherlands. After Jogja, it will screen at both the Nepal Human Rights International Film Festival and the Alula Film Festival in the US (previously the DC Chinese Film Festival).

6. Your take on JAFF?

Jogja is definitely up there as one of the most significant showcases. Everyone from the staff to the audience members have been nothing but lovely to engage with. 

News Contributor: Wong Tuck Cheong

Photos: JAFF Documentation Team