Grandpa Made a Dream Last Night

The short film ‘Grandpa Made a Dream Last Night’ (7min52sec) is set in Jixiang Village in the valley of Lashihai, Yunnan, China. The valley and surrounding area is inhabited by the Naxi, an ethnic group which predominantely lives in SW Yunnan and parts of Sichuan. Naxi have their own (spoken) language and cosmology, the latter is called DongBa.
It is against this background that the main protagonist in the film, a man now in his late seventies, dreams of resting near a stream, of holding a bowl of milk in his hands, of being a youth. He then sees himself as a young man with flowers, standing behind two farmers holding a slaughtered pig. In his dream, he can read a book about DongBa culture in English and he hears a voice recounting the poem he wrote as a young man. These images echo as he watches the building of a road next to his farm and the trees he has seen grow, fall before him.

  • He Jixing
  • He Jixing
  • Jay Brown
  • He Shiyuan
    Key Cast
  • He Hengguang
    Key Cast
  • MU Jianwu
    Key Cast
  • Ding Bo
    Key Cast
  • He Xiudong
    Key Cast
  • LIn Xia
    Key Cast
  • He Lijiang
    Key Cast
  • Petra Johnson
    Key Cast
  • He Jiyu
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short
  • Runtime:
    7 minutes 53 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 20, 2018
  • Production Budget:
    100 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
    Black & White and Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - He Jixing

He Jixing was born on May 20th, 1995 in Lashihai, Lijiang City, Yunnan Province, China, and graduated from Yunnan Agricultural University.

In 2005, Lijiang Studio, which offers artist residencies for artists, musicians and filmmakers moved into the compound next to his family farm. From the age of ten, he has been interacting with visiting artists from all over the world. This environment has exposed him to a multitude of perspectives and given him an opportunity to acquire skills not taught at school.

In 2011, he participated in a project directed by Na Yingyu. This shot-for-shot remake on 16mm and DV of the 1957 classic feature 边寨烽火 (Smoke from the Border), explored the relationship of a non-Han border village to the new Communist development project.
Using a Smartphone, he shot and completed his first short film” When our Land became ruined by a Sea of Flowers” in August 2016.
Ever since he has been thinking of ways to communicate the apparent as well as the subliminal changes to the land through film. After completing a BA at Kunming University in June 2018, he moved back to his home. In response to the rapid changes he encountered in and around the village, he made "Grandpa Made a Dream Last Night”.
Jixing also participated in an exchange program by Found Sound China (a music exchange program consisting of three American and three Chinese musicians) at Lijiang Studio (July 2018).
More recently he made a third short film “Village Temple” which was first shown to the locals. Since then he has started weekly open-air screenings, which prompt people to think about their land in the light of stories set in other parts of the world. These screening, which are very popular amongst the children, have also recruited some of them to help dubbing films in the local language: Naxi.

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Director Statement

The old man in the film „Grandfather Had a Dream Last Night’ is a farmer. He inherited his father’s farm and has now lived in the village for almost eighty years. Although he only attended elementary school, he often says that he studied at university. When asked what he majored in, he replies ’Earth Fixing’. He has his own fields as well as apple and peach orchards which are now tended by his son’s family. The land, like the grandfather, has had a turbulent life. It has been farmed collectively in the late 50s; it has been worked 24 hours a day to increase yields; it had fertiliser added in the 80s, making the water unfit for drinking and the corn unfit for human consumption. With the recent rapid development of society in China, new problems have emerged in his village. How will he, the land and his family fare, what will they experience? Futures are like grandfather’s dream. They are unstable.