2012, Beijing. directed by Angela Zito 司徒安
What does it mean to take up calligraphy in a fast-moving world where people often no longer recall the stroke order of unusual words, but can look them up on cellphones? How does it feel being alone, together, spending long hours training your body to write while slowly mulling over your life with others? Writing in Water follows two generations of calligraphy teachers, Wang Tongxing and Liu Lanbo, 王童性 刘兰波 through the eyes of an American who learned to write with them, in Tuanjiehu Park, Beijing, where they practice on the plaza everyday. We encounter directly the funny, philosophically inclined teachers and the community of students, people who have been retired, left behind by China’s get-rich quick reforms. We see them together in the park and alone at home. With their students they connect past to present, master to pupil, friend to friend, making a community, making Chinese characters that slowly materialize, and that last long after the water has evanesced into air.
In Mandarin, English subtitles, 42 min.
Written and directed by Angela Zito; Camera by Angela Zito, Yu Jun, Lisa Erdman; Edited by Angela Zito; Zhu Lin, Lili Chin, Yang Rui. Trailer edited by Ellen Zweig.