In an alley, within a row of cubicles stretching into a long hallway, sit several artists. Each cube holds someone painting a landscape of some sort; some show trees while some show rivers and brooks. The scene shifts back and forth between the paintings. While the painters paint, phones sit on tables or easels, each depicting a painted scene of nature. It soon becomes clear that the painters are copying paintings we see on the phones.
Shanzhai Screens is a short film directed by Paul Heintz which looks at the world of copy painting within Shenzhen and the lives of those who partake in it. The film follows several people as they make notes, calls and work on several paintings that depict actual paintings that already exist. Their notes detail their process as well as their feelings about dreams they had and what they are doing now.
Flying Film Festival Shows Us Artists Trapped In Repetition
One artist paints a picture of Van Gogh’s sunflowers repeatedly on several canvases all pinned up in his small apartment. He takes us through his process of how he gets many of the same picture on multiple canvases. Another talks about how many names he has signed onto his works, none of them being his.
Squares are a motif that come up many times in the film. From the hallways, to the cubicles, to the house and the paintings. The film is littered with harsh sides and angles, which add to a feeling of being trapped in. This gives context to a monologue said by one of the artists. He is talking through a phone that is on a dashboard. The phone frames him in. He talks about how he dreamt he was painting in an entirely new technique that was so new and innovative, but it was hard to imagine. We share in his feeling of being caged.
Shanzhai Screens is especially recommended for those who love the art of painting, and visually beautiful films.
Directed by Paul Heintz
Produced by Thomas Hakin and Julien Graff
Craftsmanship artistic support and management by Huang Zhenqian
Picture and Sound by Paul Heintz
3D by Thibaut Rostagret
For more information on SHANZHAI SCREENS, go to the Flying Film Festival website.
Photos courtesy of Flying Film Festival.
About the Author: Claire Hooper
Claire likes creepy! Claire likes weird too!
Whether it’s horror, fantasy or the screenplays and novels now being written in the back of her mind—Claire is drawn to the surreal. The more non-linear a story unfolds, the more Claire expects to love it and linger with it.
Her many friends who eagerly await baker Claire’s next batch of chocolate chip cookies need not fear that the love of horror and thrillers creeps into her sweet offerings. Those are long-held family recipes she safeguards to share with the circle of friends whom she loves to hang out with, whenever is not writing or studying.