When Zhou Dongyu, the heroine of "Parrot Killing" met director Ma Yingxin for the first time, he asked her a question, "Do you think I am the kind of person who will be cheated in relationships?"
Ma Yingxin replied, "If you are confident that you can't do it, then your chance of being cheated increases." Zhou Dongyu went back and thought about it, and felt it made sense, so he took on this very different movie.
"Parrot Kill" poster
The movie "Parrot Killing", released on September 15, focuses on the "pig killing plate" which has been a hot topic in social news in recent years. As a young female director, after searching for a large number of real cases during the creation of the story, Ma Yingxin chose to focus on the psychology of female victimization, abandoning the external spectacle of deception, and depicting the deception between the victim's revenge and the scammer in a full and satisfying way. of tension.
Zhou Ran, played by Zhou Dongyu in the film, is a victim of a pig-killing plate. Like many women who have been deceived, she could not face the fact that she was deceived for a long time. But the movie provides some "larger than life" coincidences, and she gets the chance to meet the man who lied to her again, so she decides to get revenge in her own way.
Stills of "Separated Love"
This is the second collaboration between Zhou Dongyu and Zhang Yu after the short film "Love Apart". The two "acting schools" perform two people who perform emotional dramas in life. Many times the audience is led along and cannot tell whether the characters are fake. The drama is real, or the drama is fake and the love is real. In the daily life of eating, shopping, singing and drinking, there is an undercurrent of emotions between people, and love and hatred are intertwined. Even though we know it is a scam, we always have unwilling delusions from time to time.
This summer, several movies about scams have become popular. Social sentiments about women's insecurities in intimate relationships have continued to ferment with various news topics in the past. Rather than what tricks the scammers used and how these victimized women "got in", director Ma Yingxin, as a woman, is more willing to show the second half of people facing deception and getting over the hurt.
Ma Yingxin has previously made two short films, "The Man in the Chair" and "The Passing Words". Both works revolved around the topic of "the harm caused by deception." "When we watch a lot of news or documentaries, we still have a question, which is why people are deceived?" She wants to build a more internal model that combines the more elusive part of emotional fraud with the vague weakness and weakness. The impact is shown in a cinematic way.
As the debut film of a young director, "Parrot Killing" is very mature in terms of audio-visual, scheduling and rhythm control. Ma Yingxin said, "I am the kind of person who has watched very, very, very many movies."
"Parrot Killing" director Ma Yingxin
Due to a car accident, she has been unable to leave a wheelchair since she was three years old. "The radius of life is not that big" is her description of her living situation, but movies, reading and writing allow her to extend the vast distance within the limited radius of life. Countless remote and unconventional, restricted and defined lives in this world were presented to her through movies, which allowed her to establish an optimistic attitude from an early age that "life is an adventure that constantly deviates from the established track."
So she drove her electric wheelchair smoothly and quickly, and her life radius spanned all over the world. She studied in Spain, studied law and then switched to film. She likes to write stories and has saved many scripts. When she was writing them, she didn't think about which ones could be filmed. She also does media and curatorial work, interviews film masters from around the world, and builds bridges for film exchanges between China and Spain.
"I can't say specifically at which moment 'becoming a director' will happen. But it seems that only after you have finished shooting your first feature film can you truly identify yourself as a director."
Below is an exclusive interview conducted by director Ma Yingxin with reporters from The Paper before the film was released, during which she talked about lies, injuries, female films and life.
The set of "Parrot Killing"
Let victims and scammers meet in reality
The Paper: You seem to have been living abroad for a long time. When did you learn about the news about the "Pig Killing Plate"? How do you view such social events? What parts of it inspired your desire to create?
Ma Yingxin: Although I have lived abroad these years, I also use the Internet. Around 2018-2019, I would see news about "pig killing" more frequently. In fact, I have always been interested in how people face lies, deception, and the harm caused by it. The "pig-killing plate" is a huge lie and scam, so this topic naturally touches the emotional part of me.
I think in life, people are constantly facing lies, big and small, in all kinds of relationships, not just love. Lies are basically a part of life. Everyone will face these things constantly. It can be very everyday. At the same time, when a lie is exposed, people will be greatly shocked, injured, and trigger intense emotions. This extreme situation is the best way to explore people's hearts from a creative perspective.
Stills of "Parrot Killing"
The Paper: As a female director, when looking at such events, will you adopt a more "female" perspective?
Ma Yingxin: My first feeling is that when I read relevant comments on the news, I will see a lot of simple and crude ridicule. For example, these women who were deceived must be stupid, and stupid people have a lot of money, but I think It does not fit with my usual understanding of people or many women. Because of this, I really want to understand what these women are like and what the process of being deceived is like. I think this is why I finally decided I will use a female victim as the perspective of the story to cut into social events.
The Paper: You also said that you are interested in the process of being deceived, but in the film, the specific "killing of pigs" is shown using a very efficient montage. Why is this process so compressed and refined?
Ma Yingxin: Because I think that part of the display or presentation cannot be in-depth. It will stop at a relatively superficial place and can easily become a spectacle. The audience will still feel as if they just watched a piece of news or a documentary, and it will produce a relatively alienated feeling. When we watch a lot of news or documentaries, we still have a question: why do people get cheated? There will always be this question no matter what, so for me, it is the need to establish a structure through which people can have a new understanding of the relationship between deception.
I spent a long time thinking about this matter, and finally I determined two things, that is, I want the victim and the scammer to meet in reality, and then I want to recreate the process of cheating and being cheated, to echo the online process. , or other types of deceptive relationships between people. Through this process, I feel that it is a deeper exploration for me to explore what it is like to be deceived or face a lie. This perspective allows you to get closer to the character, rather than a spectator perspective.
"Parrot Kill" poster
The Paper: There are two groups of men and women in the film. What kind of contrast do you hope to have between Zhang Youhao and Li Meng, and Zhang Yu and Zhou Dongyu?
Ma Yingxin: There is indeed a contrasting relationship. For example, Pang Ning, played by Li Meng, and Zhou Ran, played by Dong Yu, are two different types of women. Pang Ning is a very direct woman. After encountering this matter, she has to be direct. Look for this liar, and when you find it, turn the page and move on. When you really find the liar, she will rush over angrily and say, "I will kill you." When she calms down, she will send him to jail, everything. They are all very direct reactions. I think Zhou Ran is more complicated. Not only does she want the liar to go to jail, she also wants the liar to experience what it feels like to be cheated. Not only does she want to defeat the liar, she also wants to defeat herself.
Stills from "Parrot Killing", Zhang Youhao plays Xu Zhao
It has a two-fold game. One is the treatment of two types of women, who adopt different ways when facing lies and hurt. Then the roles of these two liars are also two different stages.
Xu Zhao, played by You Hao, we will see that when he first entered the fraud group and did the "pig killing plate", he was still a relatively young child, without much knowledge of right and wrong, and without much emotion. From experience, I think he is a "ruined" person. He started working in a profession when he didn't know what love is and what sincerity is. When he fell in love with a woman, he still used the language of a liar, and his true love was destroyed.
The character Zhang Yu has experience and judgment. He uses this to constantly manipulate other people's emotions. He is also quite empty inside. He is a person who believes in nothing. No one knows what he is like. , he has always been a person living under disguise. But I would also wonder if such a person might also have a desire for true emotions at a certain moment, and this desire eventually led to a certain kind of delusion.
In addition to defeating liars, it is more important to defeat yourself
The Paper: How do you understand the title "Parrot Killing"?
Ma Yingxin: One of my thoughts is that in the process of constant teaching, liars have a lot of fixed lines and a lot of words. It is a teaching process of parroting. Then they establish a fake and imitative love relationship with the victim, which is actually an act of imitation. Later, the female character in the movie used an imitative behavior to "counter-kill" the liar, so she took this name. Of course there is also a joke about parrots that we made up ourselves.
Stills of "Parrot Killing"
The Paper: As for the "anti-kill" action, although both men were punished in the end, the audience didn't seem to feel much "satisfaction". How did you think about the ending?
Ma Yingxin: I haven’t thought about it in the “cool” direction. I hope the movie can provide a new perspective on female revenge. Of course I can't speak for all women. As a woman, I think her way of revenge is unique. I think a lot of very satisfying revenge is nothing more than violence, but I think violence is a simpler thing. I think women are more complicated inside, and we should adopt a method that can really let people see the complexity of her heart. Way of revenge. If it is agreed that emotional deception can cause great emotional damage to a person, then this method of revenge is also very powerful.
The Paper: The two people in the movie were in a very anxious state, and they were repeatedly pulled back and forth. Even until the end, there was still a trace of suspense. How do you understand this kind of "love" in deception?
Stills from "Parrot Killing", Zhou Dongyu plays Zhou Ran
Ma Yingxin: For the character Zhou Ran, in addition to defeating the liar, a particularly important thing is to defeat yourself and how to defeat yourself. There are some emotional fluctuations. I think this is the nature of human beings. It's normal. In the end, she has to fight against her own fluctuations. This is also a process. She must be in a complicated mood. After success, it is definitely not a "big victory". But I wouldn’t use “fall in love” to describe their relationship, and I don’t think they might end up in another ending.
The Paper: It seems that many women today are very wary of the "love brain." What do you think of the strong insecurity among women in today's social mood?
Ma Yingxin: First of all, I don’t agree with the term “love brain.” I think its meaning is vague, and it also contains a certain tendency to look for problems from the victim. I think one of the most important things when I make films that focus on women is to understand women, not to teach women a lesson. I wouldn’t say that I want to make a movie to warn women about how women should and shouldn’t be. I think there is nothing wrong with investing real emotions and giving trust. This is a very precious part of a person. The ones who are wrong are always those who use emotions to seek benefits and harm others.
Stills from "Parrot Killing", Li Meng plays Pang Ning
I photographed a 30-year-old woman in her transformation stage
The Paper: As a viewer, my feeling when watching the movie is that I will be trapped in a fog. I don’t know which parts of the two people are real and which parts are fake. So I am also curious about this part during the filming process. Is the interpretation a matter of the actors' performance, or do you clearly sort out the character's inner state in advance?
Ma Yingxin: I will set up a core for each scene, and of course I will help the actors sort it out so that the actors clearly understand the scene and their state. But I think the meaning of filming, or my understanding of performance, is that the actors are not trying to reach my core, but they are verifying this core, or I use their performances to verify whether my core setting is accurate. .
Therefore, there will also be some more impromptu changes on the scene. For example, I find that sometimes their state in that scene exceeds the originally set level. I don’t need to foreshadow or repeat some information. I may do it in the next scene. If you play, you will make corresponding adjustments. For example, in the scene where three people were drinking at home, through their performances, I felt that their relationship in that scene reached a deeper and more probing state than I imagined, so when I received the next scene in the kitchen, We changed the approach.
I understand that a very important job of a director is to observe what is happening to the actors or between the actors on the scene at the moment. I think this kind of thing is very valuable.
The Paper: Zhang Yu has proven that he is "sexy" before, but Zhou Dongyu was not an actor with "sexual tension" in our impression in the past. We would like to hear about the casting process and how to mobilize this side of the actor. ?
Stills from "Parrot Killing", Zhang Yu plays Lin Zhiguang
Ma Yingxin: When I was writing the script, I didn’t even know if I would have the chance to film it, so I definitely didn’t have a certain actor in mind. Moreover, my own understanding of casting is that the actor and the role must be There is some compatibility, but it doesn't have to be a complete fit. This is the ideal state, because there is no need to act in a complete fit. If there is a collision, it will be possible for the character and the actor to grow together, then the character will be vivid and the movie will have vitality.
Winter Rain was originally recommended by my producer Don He. I was a little hesitant at first because her previous roles were more girlish. Although I knew she was a good actor, I might have seen her charm as more "girlish" before. Later, I had the opportunity to watch "Fire on the Plain", a collaboration between Don He and Dong Yu. In the second half of that play, I saw her ability to deal with complex emotions, and realized that Dong Yu started to grow up, and she was Some faces other than girls appeared. I was very lucky that Dongyu finally took on this role. It was my first feature film, and it was an adventure that she was willing to work with me.
At the same time, I was very lucky. I happened to photograph a 30-year-old woman in her transformation stage. She was at this stage of her life. This role also gave her room to show off the charm of this new stage.
Life is a process of constantly "deviating" from the established route.
The Paper: I’m also curious about your own path as a director. When did you decide to become a director? What role did movies play in your growth?
Ma Yingxin: I didn’t have a moment when I “decided to become a director” because I can’t become a director just by “deciding”.
My interest in movies should be said this way. Due to my physical condition since I was a child, the scope of my life was not that big, and the fun I could find in life was not that much. So movies play a big role in it because I can watch them whenever I'm at home. I probably watched a lot of movies that were not available, and because our generation caught up with the rise of the Internet, I watched a lot of "heavy" movies when I was young, and I also watched a lot of movies that really subverted your ideas and perceptions. Known movies. At the same time, I have always loved writing scripts and stories. It is almost an interest in my life. I do not regard it as something to be accomplished with the goal of shooting. In the past ten years, I have written many scripts. Some of them were abandoned halfway, and some of them were completed. I just want to keep writing.
The first time I had the idea of filming something was when I was in Spain. I was studying law at the beginning, which required a lot of language, so I had the opportunity to take a very cheap acting class. That experience made me think that maybe I could write a story about an acting class, and after I finished writing it, I thought maybe I could try filming it. Then I made my first short film, which was about a student in an acting class who realized that his so-called boyfriend was actually going to be detrimental to him, and he had to face it.
After filming, I still didn’t think I would become a director, and a few years later I might have the opportunity to make a second short film. It’s only now that you’ve finished shooting your first feature film that you can truly identify yourself as a director, but I can’t say specifically at which moment “becoming a director” will happen.
The Paper: In recent years, you have had your own studio and corresponding industry resources in Spain, and you have also curated exhibitions, but you still chose to return to the soil of Chinese-language films when creating. Why did you choose this way?
Ma Yingxin: I did not "choose" "Parrot Killing" as my first feature film, but I wrote this script, and it just so happened that I had the opportunity to make this film at this stage. Back to the issue of creation, in fact, no matter where you are, you are always facing your own confusing problems. I feel that every script I write helps me face various problems and my life. The location is not particularly relevant, nor is the larger social environment, because the scope of my life has always been very small.
The Paper: Has the issue of “small living space” ever bothered you when you were growing up and choosing your career? Because being a director is really hard work, do you feel any restrictions or inconveniences?
Ma Yingxin: I feel that although the world I live in is relatively small, maybe movies, including reading, including other media that can expose me to the outside world, these things have really given me a lot of strength, making me feel like I have been growing up since I was a child. A kind of understanding is formed - life is actually an adventure, and life is a process in which you should constantly "deviate" from your established route.
And I feel that I am really a very lucky person. The looks from people around me tell me that you can do a lot of things. I rarely receive the message that you can't do something because of your limited mobility. So I think when we talk about people with disabilities, we should look at them more broadly. We need the entire external environment to give them such a more open space, and look at their lives and possibilities with a more equal eye.
The Paper: You just mentioned that one is the radius of your own life, and the other is the inner confusion you face when creating. "Parrot Killing" is also half of it and can be regarded as a love movie. What kind of confusion and attitude did you face when it came to love in your own growth experience?
Ma Yingxin: I would not regard it as a love movie, but as a movie related to human emotions. Of course, like everyone else, I have normal expectations for relationships. At the same time, I feel that relationships may always be a risk. You always have to decide whether you want to take that risk or not, or for our movie, sometimes you may also wonder whether you want to "take a gamble." Maybe the pig killing plate is a very extreme situation, but in daily emotional experience, you will also face self-trust or doubt, whether to start or whether to continue, you are always faced with this choice.