Experiencing Interruptions?

Wild Grass

A Taiwanese woman’s journey to America reveals her fantasy of love and an identity entangled with beauty, sexuality, nationality and two languages. Through the protagonist confronting her own image and her failure at communicating, WILD GRASS tells an unusual love story that is deceptive yet revealing.

We never hear from the woman on the screen nor the narrator.  As the correlation and mismatch between the image and the text become more unstable, the veracity of both the image and words comes into question. The woman’s struggle with her inner self plays out as she runs over and over again in an imaginary landscape— where her memory of water and sound from Taiwan is laid over yellow wild grass.

  • Shan Wu
  • Shan Wu
  • Drew Cavicchi
    Executive Producer
  • Shan Wu
  • Stephy Tao
  • Peiyu Lai
    Key Cast
    "A Taiwanese Woman"
  • Jacob Sheppard
    Key Cast
    "An American Man"
  • Project Title (Original Language):
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short, Student
  • Runtime:
    19 minutes 45 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    August 1, 2020
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
    Taiwan, United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Tim Disney Prize for Excellence in the Storytelling Arts
    United States
    Prize Winner
Director Biography - Shan Wu

SHAN WU (Writer, Director, and Producer) is a Los Angeles-based Taiwanese independent filmmaker and multi-disciplinary artist. Her script Wild Grass won the Tim Disney Prize for Excellence in Storytelling. Her film Lookover was selected for Formosa Festival of International Filmmaker, Supernova Digital Animation Festival, and CINMARE International Ocean Film Festival. Her video installation work Bardo won the Bronze Medal at the National Art Exhibition in New Media Art in 2018 and was shown in the National Taiwan Museum. In 2017, she collaborated with Santa Paula Art Museum on a site-specific project called Mural, which was projected on the facade of the Cole Creativity Center. She is one of the founders of Taiwan Video Club, a collaborative screening of Taiwanese films, and served as a Senior Programmer at the Los Angeles Chinese Film Festival in 2019. Shan is a graduate from the California Institute of the Arts' Film and Video and Integrated Media Program.

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Director Statement

WILD GRASS is a film about love and identity. Working in the power gap between females and males, citizens and immigrants, and colonized and colonizers, WILD GRASS weaves the personal with the political. The Chinese title “狂草/kuángcǎo/”, which literally translates to the English title “Wild Grass,” is a difficult-to-read style of cursive script used in Chinese calligraphy that emphasizes the aesthetic and visual quality of language over the communicative function. The silent narrator, who may or may not be the woman on screen, appears only through the subtitles. The subtitles serve both as my reflection on my own experience and as a translation of the image. The visual style of WILD GRASS imitates photography— as a means to revisit the past. By confronting the self, I hope to capture a profound truth about the social construct of gender and nationality: its impact on our sense of self, on our ability to communicate, and on the bonds that form the fabric of society.

In this post #MeToo movement era, I want to explore the impact of inheriting and internalizing an implicit form of gender inequality. In WILD GRASS, the woman outwardly presents an urge to please others by her appearance — the body of the woman in the Taiwanese TV show, the beauty of the main character, and my urge to beautify the film by manipulating the image. I am highlighting the link between the sexualization of women and the misleading sense of love portrayed on media to a woman’s sense of self, her sexuality, and her relationship. What will happen if her beauty swallows her identity and her body becomes a tool?

Borned and raised in Taiwan, I often feel estranged from my country. Taiwan’s geographic, and political isolation builds on its colonized past, creating a subliminal identity crisis. I see a tendency of escapist mentality and unrealistic hope for other countries in my time. Based on a personal experience, I am experimenting on the form of storytelling to present the complexity of how one’s identity is formed and transformed.

— Shan Wu