Liu Wei (b. 1972)
Floating Memory (2001)
A documentary? A play with elements from reality? Fiction with a documentary streak? Unequivocal fiction? To which genre FLOATING MEMORY belongs is hard to determine. And people longing for transparency will find this film a tough job. Not the film itself, but the synopsis provides the best foothold. In it, Liu Wei mentions the revolutionary year 1989 and the uprising on Tian’an Men Square. He participated in it, and it nearly killed him. Twelve years later, China and he have completely changed. The memory of those turbulent days is shattered and still he does not know what the true meaning of life is. Still, the images of those days keep haunting him. This film is a collage of, fading, slow-motion or reversed photographs, films and newscast images of the chaos in Beijing in 1989. In 2001, the camera skims along the past, scans it and tries to penetrate it. The distance to the past is emphasised by much more colourful images of the orderly modern Beijing. Among the images of the now unknowable past, scenes emerge that are of a completely different order. Raindrops falling in a pool. A white stick dipping in a puddle. A crowd ascending a staircase and dissolving into thin air. Even to those who know the synopsis, FLOATING MEMORY remains ambiguous. Is this a cry of distress from a murky inner landscape? Or an apt representation of the inevitable fate that awaits every historic event?