Director, Actor, Co-producer
Struggle Sessions brings together past moments from my own life and elements of other queer stories in contemporary Mainland China. Being based largely on real people, the characters in the film come to show a level of growth and sensitivity that is seldom explored in Mainland Chinese queer feature films (most of which have been written, directed, and performed by cisgender heterosexual talent). From its inception, Struggle Sessions was written, directed, shot, and performed by an all-queer team. The film also hints at the increasingly transnational aspects of China’s queer communities through the lens of the co-protagonist Daniel, a Salvadoran-Canadian immigrant worker in China. While not pitched as a “true-story film,” this project speaks to a number of true events, re-enacted by the people who experienced them.
On screen, the characters exist in an environment where it is difficult to escape the signals of a patriarchal government and society telling them how to live and what to value. Only inside the home do they enjoy some quiet, but the struggle still follows them. A sense of confinement creeps in, reinforced by static cinematography that traps the characters in each frame. Through a partly nonlinear presentation of the narrative, I hope to underscore the confused and mixed feelings that pervade the characters’ minds and actions.