The Storms in Our Blood (2017) by Shen Di

Screening at Cannes in 2018, “The Storms in our Blood” is a very clever short based on a rather intriguing ‘what if’ that results in a number of social commentary while retaining a sense of comedy throughout its length. duration.

Uma, a Ghanaian girl who works in a bar, becomes pregnant by one of the two Chinese sailors who slept with her one night of drunkenness. She decides to find her father and finally arrives at the city where the two live in Northeast China. After a meeting with two of them, and essentially the entire village, the eldest Zhao Daguo admits that he is the father and essentially takes responsibility for Uma, also because his mother pushes him to “continue the line of the”. However, the other one, Richard, who is actually the only one in the area who can speak a little English and communicate with the girl, also seems to care about her. Time passes with Uma in the village and cultural differences result in a series of episodes.

Shen Di uses this absurd idea to present a fairly episodic narrative, highlighting the cultural difference between Ghanaian Christians and Chinese Communists, albeit in a way that remains superficial and funny throughout the 31-minute short. Starting from the fact that Uma does not understand what others say and vice versa, and the ways that the villagers implement to meet her, the hilarious scenes follow one after another.

As the locals watch National Geographic documentaries to learn about Africa, she tries to find a Christian church that is ironically run by a mentally handicapped young man, while eventually forcing the locals to have some kind of “Last Supper”. , in one of the funniest and most visually stunning scenes in the film. More humorous is the presence of another African man in the area, who is actually a kind of doctor, prescribing substances that seem to combine African magic with Chinese medicine, as in the case of “three deer penises and some ginseng” . .

At the same time, Shen Di also launches a message about coexistence, highlighting how people can overcome any type of barrier, in this case religion, language and race, and live together in harmony.

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Aside from context, the film also thrives on imagery, with Wang Weihua’s cinematography resulting in a number of excellent compositions, with the candlelight, aforementioned “Dinner” and beach scenes all quite memorable. The work done on the editing is also top-notch, with the sudden cuts being part of the film’s deadpan humor.

Jane Mansah as Uma gives a very convincing performance, despite having very few lines, while Chen Zhenfei as Richard and Xie Huiwen as Daguo have perfectly captured the absurdity that dominates the narrative.

“The Storms in our Blood” is an excellent short film, equally smart, funny, contextually rich, and well shot, in a truly impressive effort from Shen Di.

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