Our Time Machine
MAD | Music/Art/Design
When his father, noted Peking opera director Ma Ke, began to suffer from Alzheimer’s, visual artist Maleonn conceived of his most ambitious and personal project to date: a theatre piece populated by robotic puppets (designed by him) about memory and his father’s life, which he conceived of both as an homage to his dad and the last chance to work with him. A victim of the Cultural Revolution, Ma Ke was sent to the countryside as a cotton picker, and when he was allowed back into Chinese society, Maleonn was a five-year-old boy. As his father’s star rose on the stage, Maleonn felt more and more estranged from him, but now - before it is too late - he feels the urgent need to express his complicated feelings for the elderly man.
Directors Yang Sun and S. Leo Chiang’s exquisitely shot documentary shows the years-in-the-making process that Maleonn went through - going massively over budget, facing technical and bureaucratic roadblocks at every turn, dealing with his father’s encroaching memory loss - in bringing the project to fruition. The result is nothing less than a fascinating treatise on self-expression in modern China.
Best Cinematography, Documentary Competition, Tribeca 19