When the holiday ends, the two life long friends say goodbye to each other as usual, but this time, the farewell between them became unique and heavy, it becomes also the farewell life and death, between two cities,Chicago and Shanghai。

  • YiShu He
  • YiShu He
  • Maizie Li
    Key Cast
  • EnJia Zhang
    Key Cast
  • Kenny Zhao
    Director of Phtography
  • Project Title (Original Language):
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Runtime:
    12 minutes 6 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    February 9, 2020
  • Production Budget:
    500 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - YiShu He

Directed short film 28th Arizona film festival( AIFF) 2018
Studies in School of the Art Institute of Chicago( SAIC ) 2019-2023

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Director Statement

Strong in will but weak in power

Lately, the Covid-19 spread across the world. It developed into a disastrous tsunami from a butterfly wing flipped thousands of miles away. The schools are stopped, and stores are closed. It's even risky for people to go out and take a deep breath. Almost all the productions have delayed, the film fests stopped screening. Unluckily, my summer program may be abort because of the economic crisis caused by the virus.

That's tragic, very much tragic, but we called that fate. When the dust of epoch stops on an individual, it will be a mountain. The rapid growth and thrive from the last decads made people forget we supposed to be powerless in front of fate. It's like the sudden separation between two close friends in "Goodbye, Chicago," the character didn't dare to accept and couldn't hold back. The kind of optimistic feeling and confidence about the future in the "golden age," youth, was simply an illusion.

As an old Chinese poem said: "People have sorrow and happiness when they meet and depart, as the moon waxes and wanes." The farewell is one of the largest topics in art. Different from the hysterical emotion between family members or lovers, the emotion of the farewell in friendship is also very special. Friendship itself is full of powerless feelings because it's " independent" between friends. Even if you were confidants who drank all night together and talked through life, your track of life would keep separated and will never overlap. You guys won't be connected by flesh and profit like family members or lovers. If this story happened between family members or lovers, will the character feel the same amount of powerlessness as when she's facing friendship? Maybe the character will do as much as she can, fly back immediately, delay school, change her plan of life, it's very much possible.

But what about friendship?

In " Goodbye, Chicago," there's a part where the two characters were dancing in the sunny metro train by listening to one song from separate earphones. They were fully emersed in beauty and freedom. This episode is the perfect re-performance of friendship relationships among young peoples. They were mentally connected but independent at the social and physical levels. The empty train is the mental space for them.

Today young peoples enjoy freedom and enthusiasm brought by friendship. But when the brutal fate pokes friendship with its cold knife, friendship became vulnerable. Most of the time, the powerless feeling didn't come from people who couldn't make their best effort to grab one thing tight but come from people who have to choose which one to protect because they can't keep everything safe. Friends are important, but maybe graduate from college is more important because my family spent all the savings to pay my tuition. Or, it's more important to keep this casual relationship between friends instead of treating my friend as a patient.

So fundamentally, " Goodbye, Chicago" is a coming of age story, although it's a small project, I still think it expressed the reflection and change of young people when they were facing important incidents. Then, what's the outcome of change? There's another ancient Chinese poem:" The mountain range that stretches from you to me is under the same clouds and rain. The same moon is shining over our heads, never been apart but in one place we remain." When we are facing the brutal reality, we can say that " The fate won't care about what you are feeling, but people care." The "friend" part in friendship may be vulnerable; the "ship" part in it is not. The character chose to hug her friend, at last, to express the love to her close friend. Although her friend left her and walked out of the tunnel, the different light and space between outside and inside made them" separate between life and death." But because there's love, no matter there's mountains and sea or time and space between them, the same moon always shines overhead.