Night cap with My Little China Girl
Can you tell us about how you chose the title of your film?
The title isn’t meant literally. It comes from the David Bowie song “China Girl”. My film, just like the song, plays with racial stereotypes in order to deconstruct them. When the other is different from us, we often image it using a set of stereotypes, but when we come into contact with the reality of the person, we discover their uniqueness, as well as their universality, which go beyond our expectations. My film is about the intimate adventure of knowing the other and ourselves.
How did you aim to represent Alex’s journey to the stars?
I imagined Alex’s journey to the stars as an erotic scene. We used macro photography: we filmed chemical reactions under considerable magnification because I wanted to avoid combining images in order to get something more organic. For me, the journey primarily represents what my characters feel, both physically and emotionally, when they make love.
Which films did you draw from?
They’re generally subconscious, with the exception perhaps of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001, since I thought it would be interesting to have a “trip sequence” with private, emotional stakes rather metaphysical ones. The other film I had in mind when I was filming was Bertolucci’s The Conformist. It has no connection to my story, but I was inspired by the beauty of the light and the elegance of the camera’s movements.
Would you like to focus on science fiction in particular?
Science fiction and the fantastic are my favorite genres. I find that when you use them productively, these two genres allow you to tackle universal themes while avoiding being too didactic. So you can talk about reality and very private things as the viewer is led to dream, which, for me, is also the end goal of cinema.
Have you discovered any advantages that the short film form offers?
Short films allow you to tell a story that would otherwise take the form of a poem or a good pop song, which, if the film works, stays in your mind a long time afterwards. As for my own freedom, I was above all able to work with an incredible producer who was always alive to my cinematic desires and who did everything she could to turn them concrete reality. I also had the good fortune to work with a team made up of talented, generous people, and it is to them that I am indebted.