Thomas Shawcroft, a member of Film London's Equal Access Network, viewed Striding Into the Wind as part of the BFI London Film Festival. Here he shares his thoughts.
I am Thomas Shawcroft , Director of Photography and part of the Film London’s Equal Access Network. I have just watched the film Striding Into the Wind, directed by Wei Shujun, as part of the BFI London Film Festival 2020.
I joined the Equal Access Network to help me meet other collaborators with different viewpoints as I am working on stepping towards features as a Director of Photography.
The film made me feel very melancholy, as we follow Kun, a struggling sound recordist through film school. Stand out moments in the film include a really accurate portrayal of how the role of sound man is pushed to one side in film school and the “camera team” is given the most praise, causing a sense of unrest in this film. I loved it when Kun snapped at the camera team for making his job even harder than it is...deciding to teach them a lesson with a boom pole!
There are some amazing visuals of boom operators circling an actor, and this brought to my mind how film schools are generating so many graduates who then struggle to find even the most basic of film jobs, going into an ever-growing and over-saturated market. Very much like my experience of moving into the film industry.
The car is one of the main through lines of the story but also gives a sense of time and progress, filling the later parts of his studies at film school. I was captivated by the visuals and blown away by the slow developing shots with simple camera movements as well as beautifully blocked action. I felt really attached to the lighting of the night scenes in the car and felt it drove home the emotions, still keeping the very real nature look to the film. I really loved the vivid colours of the night time contrasting against the stark desaturated feeling of the daytime.
The film is more of a drama, but still has the anticipation that is wrapped up around film school - based on praise, keeping your head above the water, finding love and also trying to find yourself. I am not sure if Kun does find himself at the end of the film, as he loses everything he thought would make his life better, whilst the things that he didn’t care for seem to do well....life is very strange sometimes and I really enjoyed this film and the journey I was taken on.
I would recommend this film to everyone but also anyone that went to film school and has an insight in all the little film school in jokes and archetypes of characters in the film world.
Striding Into the Wind is part of The Create Strand of BFI London Film Festival, supported by the Mayor of London and Film London.