Private Project

Why We Are Unhappy in Cities

A youth's life falls into chaos following the breaking of his beloved lighter: his lover leaves him and he loses his job. The youth desperately seeks for a way to fix his lighter as a way to mend his ruined life, but in the process ends up losing the lighter itself. He tells his troubles to a foreign child, yet the child only wonders whether or not a certain bird in the sky is named Alice. One speaks English and the other Chinese, and the two end up speaking for quite some time despite not being able to understand each other.

When the youth finally sees his lighter again, he already has a newly born child, yet seeing the lighter in the hands of a stranger causes the youth to take desperate action ...

This is a film that explores the relationship between modern people and objects. When people create objects (commodities), they also become slaves of the objects, and even alienate themselves into the objects themselves-the plot where the heroine plays the model in the window accurately interprets this idea. And the actor finally disappeared in the chase of the items ...
So this movie is also a parable about the city.

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  • Runtime:
    26 minutes 10 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    February 6, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    100,000 USD
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Director Biography

Zhao Gang has worked as a laborer, reporter, and held various odd jobs. He left these lines of work and became a professional author in 1995, primarily writing and exploring New Chinese novels. Among China's contemporary novelists, his writing is known for its independent directions, consciousness, and brimming vitality. His works have been adopted by various organizations for the screen. He collaborated briefly with Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami on scriptwriting. "Why We Are Unhappy in Cities" is his first production as film director.

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Director Statement

This is my first movie.
I am a writer and have never studied film. One day, I suddenly wanted to make a movie----the movie you see now.
In this film, I am a director and screenwriter, and I also played a secret film role: camera lens, and have a realistic level of communication with the male and female protagonists. Never in my memory has a film been treated similarly.
This is my new exploration and attempt of film art. I hope you enjoy my movie, and hope to get your support for help.

The judges of some famous film festivals raised objections to the end of the film. I would like to explain here:
I'm critical of youths abandoning their children to chase lighters. There is also a plot in the film, where the heroine turns into a model due to the pressure of life... From which I want to ask this question: What is the reason why people pursue the material to a crazy state?
This is my basic attitude. I don’t appreciate this kind of behavior. I only ask questions and sympathize with ordinary people who are oppressed by material.
thank you all!