Sunrise Behind the Door

Juan, a submissive wife to an abusive husband must but tend to Xing, a young girl imprisoned in her own home, but when her actions are challenged it sends her on internal and surreal journey toward redemption.

  • Zheng Gong
  • Zheng Gong
  • Zheng Gong
  • Zheng Gong
  • Ruiwen Wu
    Director of Photographer
  • Zongao Yue
  • Junli Gu
  • Yuexin Xiang
    Production Designer
  • Xiaoqi Sun
    Script Supervisor
  • Peiyu Zhang
    Production Assistant
  • Xuanbo Wei
    Assistant Camera
  • Fenghai Wang
    Key Grip
  • Chun Su
    Boom Operator
  • Yujie Yang
    Key Cast
  • Xiaoyun Duan
    Key Cast
  • Fang Xie
    Key Cast
  • Project Title (Original Language):
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Feature, Short, Student, Other
  • Genres:
    Short, student, experimental
  • Runtime:
    8 minutes 32 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 16, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    6,000 AUD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    Mandarin Chinese
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital, Sony A7S3
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - The University of Sydney
Director Biography - Zheng Gong

Zheng Gong is a Chinese emerging filmmaker who's work largely explores ideas of feminism, humanism and socio-economic disparity in modern Chinese culture.

Having grown up in a small coastal town in Shandong Province, Zheng relocated to Australia to study at the age of 17. After receiving her undergraduate degree in Communication and Media Studies and Landscape architecture from the University of Western Australia, she began her Master's degree in Moving Image at the University of Sydney in 2022.

During the studies,she created several interview-based documentaries and experimental film exploring human stories of economic disenfranchisement. Recently, her experimental work SHE, a study in changing perceptions in female sexual autonomy, was selected for the 2022 Sydney University showcase.

Currently, she is developing her latest film "Sunrise Behind the Door", a piece which continues her ongoing investigation into gender and class conflicts in modern China, it is the voice for struggling underclass women.

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Director Statement

In early 2022, I stumbled upon news about the trafficking and abuse of a woman, which stirred deep emotions within me. Since then, I have been fueled by a desire to undertake a feminist project that expresses my intense anger, using this news as a backdrop.

As I delved deeper into Bride trafficking in China, I was shaken by the revelations. Bride trafficking persists, fueled by traditional beliefs that commodify women and prioritize marriage and lineage. Victims endure abuse and inequality; some even become complicit, perpetuating the oppression cycle.

Within this context, I realized that every woman is a survivor, not a bystander. This realization reshaped my vision; I no longer wanted to create a narrative solely focused on women's suffering or employ violence to counter evil. Instead, I yearned to weave a different story. While researching, I also watched numerous films depicting the trafficking of women, where I often observed these "newly complicit" women being coerced into submissive roles and portrayed as accomplices within the narrative. This led me to wonder: What if they were the protagonists? What would happen if they united?

Consequently, I have crystallized the thematic concept: In a patriarchal society, women are trapped in an inescapable cycle of oppression. If women unite, can they break the cycle of oppression, or is that system too powerful?

The film's two protagonists were designed to represent the ego and the superego, embodying different lifelines or timelines that are similar but not identical. Through their intersection and influence on each other, I aim to push them toward an ideal state of personality. The enigmatic male character assumes a symbolic role, capable of representing a husband, a son, a male villager, or any archetype associated with masculinity.

I approached the cinematic form with a fresh perspective, aiming to do something intriguing. I rejected logical and straight narratives while avoiding an overly experimental approach. I intended to grant audiences greater autonomy and subjectivity, leaving ample space for their imagination to roam freely. As a result, I experimented with diverse editing sequences, frequently incorporating symbols and metaphors, and relying on minimal dialogue, all while maintaining the essential elements of the story.

I eagerly await the opportunity to test the outcomes of this film and discover further possibilities through the audience's reactions.