Documentary, 52m, 2015
Director, photography and sound: Christian Passuello Editor: Yen Le Van Production: Les Films du Sud, Vosges Télévision, Agovision Distributor: Vosges TV Language: French, with English subtitles
Session presented by Didier Plassard
Yeung Faï embodies the last generation of a great dynasty of Chinese puppeteers.
From the age of four, he was initiated by his father, a revered master, who was persecuted during the Cultural Revolution for his "academic and reactionary" art.
"The infamy" of the father means the ruin for the family and a miserable childhood for Yeung Faï. After the death of Mao Zedong, in 1976, puppet shows are again allowed. With his older brother, they perform discreetly.
But at the time of the events of Tian’anmen Square, in 1989, the family feels threatened again. Yeung Faï managed to emigrate to Bolivia. Then began years of insecurity. After surviving some time in La Paz, he decided to try his luck in Hong-Kong. But again he is faced with the difficulty of recognizing his art and, more importantly, to despair.
Nevertheless he persevered and the fortune smiled to him. He goes to France and creates his first solo, "Hand stories", an autobiographical show, which will reveal him as a great creator and a puppet master.
Despite years of absence, Faï is always concerned with the reality of his homeland. His second creation, "Blue Jeans", takes place in a factory of "jeans" in China. He thus continues his work in the framework of the "documentary puppet".
But, approaching fifty, Yeung Faï knows he is the last of his family line. His older brother died and his only daughter was not initiated in the art of puppetry. It is thus outside the family he will transmit this heritage practiced for five generations.
Yeung Faï now lives in France, and he is very involved with the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts de la Marionnette de Charleville-Mézières. There he teaches and accompanies the students by until the end of their graduation show.
This documentary paints a portrait of this artist in his long and difficult career, who affirms his work thanks to his determination and perseverance.
This film is inspired by the wonderful and tragic contents in his shows. The narrative structure is built between imaginary, that of theatrical creation, and reality, that of exile and its consequences Yeung Faï faced for years, before he can reach an international artist status.
"For more than twenty years, documentary film making has been a natural way of life for me.
The rich human encounters, the construction and telling of a story, but also the search for financing, as well as managing a production and the inevitable troubleshooting that accompanies it, all this while maintaining the desire to be a filmmaker, make up my daily life.
Whatever the subject – identity, memory, music, cannabis, childhood or literature - in the end, what others experience, I also experience.
Even when not actively filming, I am nevertheless a filmmaker." - Christian Passuello
Trailer Yeung Faï a last great puppet master... por lesfilmsdusud