The Thorn

During a power outage one night, a solitary and autistic youth encounters a sting. The sting is stuck deep in the center of his back, and as time goes by, the wound begins to decay. A string of weird things ensue: lingering flies, inexhaustible delicacies, and vines creeping over the bathroom. Tortured by this ordeal, the youth vows to fight nail and tooth to remove the sting. A life-and-death struggle between a man and a sting thus begins in a closed room.

  • Yihuan Xu
  • Yihuan Xu
  • Linlin Lou
  • Project Title (Original Language):
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short
  • Runtime:
    15 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    June 30, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    8,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
    Black & White
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Yihuan Xu

Born in 1990, Xu graduated in literature of theatre, film and television from Nanchang University, and has years of experience in film and television planning as well as novel writing and screenwriting. Xu now works at Phoenix Entertainment Group, and is the author of the novel “The Wild South” and the screenplay “Four Loko”, and worked on films such as “Dragons and Subways” and “Snow Land”.

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Director Statement

The short film aims to tell a simple story about a man and a sting, or more precisely, about the struggle between a man and a sting. Its Chinese title, which literally means “a sting in one’s back” and indicates the restlessness one feels when bothered about something, suggests the inspiration for this film. The sting in the short film is simultaneously tangible and symbolic, largely related to the violence in the outside world. The hero, driven by his despair in the outside world, retreats to a private and negative space, while the violence he has met with or heard about imperceptibly shapes him, making him a perpetrator of violence, as exemplified by his retaliation against mosquitoes and his stabbing a girl.
The fictional story attempts to depict a non-regional emotion, and thus we avoided overly realistic spatial selection and setting, and instead opted for some exaggerated or even bewildering elements, such as the heaps of rubbish in the living room and the paintings that cover the bedroom walls. We made special arrangements in regard to sound, like the rushing sound of waves outside the door and the background noise during the power outage. Similarly, black and white serve as the basic tones. As the story unfolds, the brightness of the film also decreases, a means to echo the hero’s crumbling spiritual world. Throughout the film, the camera plays a curious and concerned role, yet deliberately keeps its distance. In terms of scene design, we consciously approach the hero, but try our best to perceive him in combination with the space around him, as in this story, the hero is inseparable from the space.