Weng Shou-ming: "Some people think I have guts"

April 2008 -

In Fuijan Blue, Weng Shou-ming shows how the thirst for money and riches rules in the Chinese province of Fuijan. Rich men are continually on business trips while young criminals extort sums from their wives at home. The many Chinese who dream of a life in the West will pay enormous sums for an illegal crossing.


Scene from Fuijan Blue

Weng believes he is an individualist among today's generation of Chinese film makers. "Most film makers want to tell a good story and attune to a certain genre. My films are less traditional; I strive to be creative and surprising. Some people think I have guts." Above all, Weng wants his films to be socially relevant. He is from the province of Fuijan and knows exactly what goes on there. "No one has ever made a film about it. I believe it is my duty to tell this story. All of those emigrants believe their trip will be arranged properly as long as they pay. They expect to find paradise as an overseas Chinese. I want to show them that this is a myth."

However, as yet Weng has been unable to show his film in China. "The public and the producers focus on big films in particular. There is virtually no film house circuit. There are investors, because it is fashionable to invest in films these days. But they will also stop their investments if the film does not earn enough." What is more: a film must be approved by the Cultural Bureau. "These days films are not often prohibited because China wants to improve its image. However, some films are left untouched at the Cultural Bureau and no notification is ever sent." Weng is still awaiting a verdict on his Fuijan Blue. He already knows that they think the picture he paints of the province is too pessimistic.

Fuijan Blue is being shown at a variety of festivals, and Weng hopes it will be run abroad. After the film festival in Rotterdam 2007, he was awarded support for the post-production from the Hubert Bals Fund. "That was very important. We had technical problems and the money was gone. Thanks to the support from the fund, I was able to complete the film."