Experiencing Interruptions?

Searching For Her

A poetic film that tries to bridge the gap between time and space, love and loss, mother and daughter.

  • Natalie Archambaud Chao
  • Natalie Archambaud Chao
  • Natalie Archambaud Chao
  • Project Title (Original Language):
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short, Student
  • Genres:
    Experimental, poetic, cinema
  • Runtime:
    4 minutes 24 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 1, 2017
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    Hong Kong
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    VHS, Digital SLR
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:

  • United States
Director Biography - Natalie Archambaud Chao

Natalie is a filmmaker and aspiring cinematographer currently studying a Bachelors of Arts degree in Film Production at the USC School Of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles. She was raised in Hong Kong by a Cantonese mother and a Filipino/French father. From a very young age, she found growing up in ‘Asia’s World City’ to be a confounding experience, and yet it provided for Natalie an environment of perpetual change, of a borderless reality. In order to make sense of her own identity in a city that lacked one by itself, she searched for a means to articulate her thoughts and attitudes. It wasn’t until the age of 15, when she finally found film to be her consummate mode of expression. Behind the camera, she felt comfortable in encapsulating her world with all its incongruities. Over the years, themes pertaining to time and space have persisted in in all of her work, as she continues to explore how memory, nostalgia and transience are inevitably present in our humble experiences of the world around us.

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Director Statement

This film was inspired by a quiet moment back home when I felt a sudden urge to open old albums collated by my mother, who had passed away when I was 14 years old. I was astonished at the effort she had put in, not only taking these photographs but organising them as well as putting comments here and there in order to make sure that our experiences together were forever recorded. It was then I decided to delve deeper into the past and I started thrifting through old VHS footage (again, mostly shot by my mom) and certain themes began to emerge.

SEARCHING FOR HER ultimately revolves around the concept of looking for someone who’s no longer here in our ‘reality’. This project began as my attempt to re-discover my mother's personality, dreams, desires, and emotions. It was a difficult process considering how my love for her has been somewhat buried in the past and at this point I can barely remember the time we spent together…Over the summer, I even went to the place I grew up and I experienced this odd sensation where
the buildings were the same and most of the stores have changed. I felt a profound sense of emptiness and as though a large chunk of my life has just dissolved into blurry details and impressions.
So another goal of this film was to explore and pose this question: what separates me and my mother except time and physical space? What is this awkward rift that can be accessed only via memory and imagination? And to what extent can media reconnect us? What is the point of looking at a visual reminder when it’s never going to grant you the full experience of another being?

And so the poem I’ve featured in the film was written by me during that first discovery of old photographs.