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Lucia Wang: Piecing Together Son of Wanderer

There’s always one; one of those films that everyone begins to talk about because it has unexpectedly announced its greatness. Son of Wanderer is that film. When watching this film, you will find yourself identifying with multiple characters; the uneasiness of a Chinese mother visiting her estranged son in America, the son whose unvented rage and resentment is always quietly simmering, even the peace-making wife who wants to see some unification for this strained family. Ziyang “Lucia” Wang was the on-set editor and DIT for this award-winning film. It was her job to help the viewer empathize with each of these characters in the film. Director Chi Zhou, two time Oscar-winner Jana Sue Memel (screenwriter of Son of Wanderer), DP Nan Li, Lucia, along with the rest of the cast and crew have created a film which displays the pain and the hope of a family steeped decades in crisis.


Son of Wanderer has already begun receiving accolades across the planet, including those from the London Independent Film Awards and Los Angeles Film Awards. Ziyang “Lucia” Wang was brought aboard to help director Chi Zhou realize her vision. Wang’s reputation in the industry for extremely fast edits allowed an expedient pace and the assurance that director and DP were acquiring the precise look they desired. Wang relates, “I always love good stories and great emotional impact that can hit me deeply; the kind that can always bring me into the story and make me forget everything surrounding me. I like to flow with the emotion in the actors’ performances and let the secrets in the story unfold itself. I feel that I have a genetic or cultural benefit in one manner. Silence is an important part of Chinese philosophy and it’s already in my blood. The film industry always encourages ‘showing, not saying’ and unspoken words are always the most honest and from the bottom of one’s heart. It is essential in my life so I basically carry it everywhere.”

The film focuses on a mother [Li] who has appeared unannounced at the home of her estranged son Li Mingzhe. The son moved to America some years ago and essentially started a new life, including an American wife and a successful art career. Flashbacks tell the story of the conflict between mother and son in their turbulent home. When Li reveals that Mingzhe’s father (from whom she long ago separated) has died, an argument ensues which reveals fault and justification on both their parts. The nucleus of the story is about mistakes, forgiveness, and how far one will go for family. Describing the approach for the climactic scene, Lucia comments, “Near the end of the film there is a very intense scene with the mother and son shouting at each other. The director and DP decided to use two handheld cameras to shoot it. This made it very hard to control when and where to cut because of the continuity issues. Sometimes you can even see another camera from the shot! As an editor, I had to not only choose the best performance but to think about the matching shots between cuts as well.” As part of the film, none of these obstacles are present. The heart wrenching performance by the actors and the “massaging” of the scene by Lucia have combined for the most moving part of this story.

Great technique behind the camera and incredible performances in front of it can be dissected limitlessly but in the end, it’s the chemistry of all these components along with great writing that culminates in a film which deeply moved so many audiences. All awards aside, the true compensation and measure of any artist is creating something which so strongly connects with others. Son of Wanderer compels tears, in a very satisfying manner.

Written by Kelly King

Lucia Wang: Piecing Together Son of Wanderer Reviewed by JaamZIN on 7:51:00 AM Rating: 5
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