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The End of the World, or Maybe Not, as Depicted by Rain Zheng

There are many ideas about why an artist chooses their path. Some feel that it’s for attention and others believe it’s for money. Others point to self-importance while some feel that it’s based on a need to express. Director and producer Rain Zheng vulnerably admits to her own reasons stating, “I believe the artistic instinct usually comes from the part of our human life where we feel incomplete. The attempt to face, to touch, to understand, and to overcome this vulnerability is the journey of your creative expression. I like it when things are done in a personal way through one’s art form. Some people say a director only makes one movie all his/her life in the sense that their movie expresses who they are.” Although Zheng’s short film I Thought the World Had Come To an End is brief in terms of running time, its message is perennial. The film is proof that an exceptional film is not simply one that has a great story to tell but also is told in a unique and impactful way.

This experimental film was recognized around the world, awarded Best Experimental Short at the London Independent Film Awards-2018 and LA Shorts Awards-2018, as well as an Official Selection at the Austin Spotlight Film Festival, Nottingham International Microfilm Festival and others for its intimate and innovative depiction of how men see women in the aftermath of a relationship breakup as well as how women see themselves. A narrative visual poem about the objectification of women, I Thought the World Had Come To an End is as reflective of the filmmaker’s homeland of China as it is to our Western society. The superficial politeness of many is a thin veneer to the implication that a woman is incomplete without a man who desires her. It’s not a premise Rain agrees with as she states, “I feel compelled as a filmmaker who is also a woman to balance the scales in terms of positive messages and ideas to the world. There are many positive role models which I love: Sigourney Weaver as she slays a Xenomorph in Aliens, Charlize Theron in Hancock, Cate Blanchett as Galadriel in Lord of the Rings. There are other female artists who share this idea as well. Frances Mcdormand at the last Oscar awards, winning Best Performance by an actress in a Leading Role for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Greta Gerwig’s success with Ladybird, Gal Gadot’s acceptance and success with Wonder Woman as one of the most popular superhero characters; these are all indicators that the world is receptive to female artists now more than ever.”

The format which Rain chose for this film is vastly different than the more traditional one’s she mentioned. Poetry is not as accessible to the masses as an action film or a coming of age tale. So why did she choose to present I Thought the World Had Come To an End in this style. She communicates, “Poetry was a form of my creative expression when I was young. It gave me a tool to express thoughts and feelings that I didn't want people to directly know. It provides a subtlety that allows those with insight to comprehend more than others. For example, when I was young I wanted to get out of the small town I lived in and pursue my artistic dream but instead of writing about leaving, I wrote about longing. Other like minded readers of this poetry easily understood what I meant in these poems but it wasn’t clear to everyone. This film is like that. The idea that different viewers may define and interpret its outcome in a variety of ways is appealing to me. “

Written by: Kelly King
The End of the World, or Maybe Not, as Depicted by Rain Zheng Reviewed by JaamZIN on 7:41:00 PM Rating: 5
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