– Participants of the discussion after the “Zoom in on migration” screenings identified issues related to Chinese society as the most distant from us, both culturally and geographically. It knocked me out of my thoughts, because it was the Chinese film directed by Yan Kunao that seemed closest to me – writes our reviewer after watching films about migration.

As part of the “Zoom in on migrations”, viewers of the Lublin Film Festival saw five short films which, as the organizers emphasized, were not propaganda productions. The idea of Maciej Misztal, the curator of the show, was to build a diverse and nuanced picture of migration in different parts of the world. One of the films was the 17-minute film “Before Leaving”.

“Before Leaving” was distinguished primarily by its approach to the topic of migration, which was presented not as scenes abroad, but as time spent with family before leaving. The main character is not very effusive, but his emotions can be deciphered thanks to the photos he takes at every step. Xiao Jun captures completely unexceptional, everyday, ordinary situations, he records a family dinner, takes photos of his brother and grandparents. The motif of photography turns the story about migration into a story about the inexorable passage of time. The hero is gripped by fear of what he may miss. The grandparents are already noticeably running out of strength, but they treat their grandson’s departure with great care and pride, while the grandson tries to hold on to time. Looking at the boy’s worried face on the way to the airport, you wanted to shout: Come back! Stay with them!

The open ending allows the viewer to decide for themselves what decision Xiao Jun just made. Maybe he left and managed to find his way abroad, or maybe he turned back from the airport to play the piano with his grandfather, just like when he was a child.

Aleksandra Pałka

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