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Our Time Machine
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Our Time Machine
IDFA 2019

Our Time Machine

Yang Sun, S. Leo Chiang
China, United States
2019
81 min
Dutch Premiere
Festival history

When his fading memory isn’t failing him, Ma Ke can look back on an impressive theater career. He directed more than 80 Peking operas, and there would undoubtedly have been more had it not been for Mao’s Cultural Revolution.

Ma Ke’s son, the well-known Chinese artist Maleonn, wants to work one last time with his father, who is suffering from dementia. In his studio, Maleonn and his team are building an ambitious puppet theater piece about a son who makes a time machine for his father to capture his childhood memories. Filmmakers Yang Sun and S. Leo Chiang were able to film Maleonn and his father over a long period of time, both in the studio where the gifted artist is creating this amazing magical-realist world, and in his parents’ kitchen, as they grumble at each other affectionately.

The account of the complex creative process includes moving vignettes of the personal lives of Maleonn and his parents. We see how the frail Ma Ke’s memory loss is becoming increasingly concerning. When his wife blames his forgetfulness on self-importance and a fundamental lack of humility, he retorts, “If I were humble, I wouldn’t be who I am today.”

Credits
Director
Co-director
    Shuang Liang
    Shuang Liang
Production
Cinematography
Screening copy
    The Film Collaborative
    The Film Collaborative
World Sales
    CAT&Docs
    CAT&Docs

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