Filming commences for Bitter Flowers, the feature debut by Olivier Meys
by Aurore Engelen
- Tarantula Belgique has just kicked off the shoot for the Belgian director’s film in Paris; filming will continue in Rennes before moving to China in November
Belgian director Olivier Meys has spent more than 15 years working in Europe and China, at the mercy of his documentary, audio and film projects. His short film Première Nuit (2008), which screened at an impressive number of festivals, was also shot in China. In Bitter Flowers, he takes an interest in a little-known phenomenon, a very specific kind of immigration: that of Chinese women who try their luck in Europe, hoping to find a way to support their families back in China and almost inevitably falling into prostitution.
Lina, an ambitious young woman who lives in the Benxi region, is married to a devoted husband and has a little ten-year-old son. Lina has everything she needs to be happy, yet she feels the world crumbling around her. At the end of the 20th century, the Dongbei, the north-eastern region that had once been a thriving industry hub, pays a heavy price for China’s transition to a market economy. Lina wants to secure a place in this new society that is taking shape, but most of all, she wants a bright future for her son. Lina leaves for Paris, in the hope of quickly returning with money. But nothing goes as planned there, and just like the women who went before her, Lina hides the “shameful” reality of her life in France from her nearest and dearest. But her lies will have repercussions, and Lina will learn that she cannot put a price on certain things.
Lina is played by Qi Xi, who appeared in Mystery by Lóu Yè (2012), a performance for which she received the Best New Actress Award at the Golden Horse Festival in Taipei, the Chinese Film Media Awards and the Hong Kong International Film Festival. She is flanked by Huang Lu, who could be seen in How to Describe a Cloud [+see also:
film profile] by David Verbeek.
The shoot for the film, which got under way this week in Paris, will continue in Rennes, before moving to China at some point in November. Bitter Flowers is being produced by Tarantula Belgique, in co-production with PS Productions (with which Tarantula recently co-produced The Soul of the Tiger by François Yang, which has just been unveiled at Zurich), and Mille et Une Films in France, with backing from the Wallonia Brussels Federation, the MEDIA programme and the Brittany region.
(Translated from French)