What’s Your Art?’s director Maxim Bessmertny and writer Iam Lam were at the Montreal screening of their docu-fiction about an elderly cardboard vendor and a bodybuilder. Many types of people call Macau home, including 5’2”, 64-year old Lin Yao, and Allen the Brazilian – cardio expert and trainer.
Macau may seem to sparkle, but there’s a “whole cake under that cherry.” The majority of the country’s revenue and recognition comes from casinos. There is not much to highlight or support the Arts industry, but Bessmertny and Lam were seeking authenticity in a city of gambling. They have created an amusing comparative study between two people who – at first – appear to have nothing in common.
Through off-camera sexual gags, politely delivered foul language, and a lively interviewer, we learn that Allen and Lin Yao share one thing in particular. Cardio. The streets of Macau and its tourist attractions are seen merely as backdrops as Lin Yao pushes 200-pound carts of cardboard to and from a recycling facility numerous times per day. Meanwhile, our Instagram-preoccupied bodybuilder poses with a barbell in front of the famous Ruins of St. Paul. But whose marathon is the best workout? Who has the more human struggle of the two interviewees? Art is doing something with invention and heart. Both Lin Yao and Allen find ways to make life ‘artful’. The toothless lady’s recycled materials become iPhone boxes for rising Internet personalities, and vice versa in a never-ending cycle. What’s Your Art? asks us to offer kindness to the Lin Yaos out there. It is, in the end, the Lin Yaos who take care of the Allens of this world. That is not unique to Macau, but universal in its concept.
The Balloon Man (Xinyu Wang) shows how a very simple idea can be made enjoyable when well crafted. Great care was given to the animated short’s visual style. The premise is straightforward but enveloped in inventive, scribbly drawings with selective color against monochromatic backgrounds. Balloon Man is having a peculiar identity crisis. He endures alienation until he chances upon his female counterpart. It is succinct but well executed storytelling.
Although the CCIFF is wrapping up its cinema segment, be sure to check out the ongoing VR exhibit. Several booths showcase exciting advances in Virtual Reality. Demonstrators are on hand to guide the public through this new technology. Put on some VR goggles to see it for yourself!
Canada China International Film Festival: September 23 – 27, 2017 at Concordia University.
Please note: The VR exhibit is in the basement (S3) of the EV Building. If signage is unclear, the Concordia EV security desk clerk can give directions.
The CCIFF awards ceremony will be followed by the closing films, The Runner and Seventy-Seven Days, September 27th 2017.