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Silk and the Flame (The)

Country: USA, Language: Mandarin | English, 87 mins

  • Director: Jordan Schiele
  • Producer: Jordan Schiele

CGiii Comment

Sometimes...a film presents itself...and leaves you wondering: Why?

Yao goes back home...with a filmmaker in tow. Is this going to be his [filmed] 'big' coming out to his family? No.

So...what is Jordan Schiele's film trying to do? To be truthful, not quite outsider's look at the domestic hardship endured in rural China. [Tick]. A poor family's history...warts and all. [Tick]. The return of the not-so-prodigal [closeted gay] son - who goes to great lengths to hide his sexuality, he actually introduces his fake girlfriend - via facetime - to his family. [Tick].

Why would anyone want to watch such a charade? Why would anyone want to be filmed - blatantly - performing - what can only be described as - a rehearsed lie? It - truly - is baffling...and, uncomfortable. Why go to such lengths, giving false hope!?! Either, tell them the truth...or, don't! The word 'disrespectful' comes to mind.

The grainy black-and-white makes this film look better than it the end, as the filmmaker and subject jump into their car and drive off, away from the hardship, back to the comfortable city...they leave in their wake...[false] hope and an unnecessary lie.

Surely...the family will want to see the completed film...will they be served with carefully edited highlights!?! One more lie!

A film...too difficult to digest.


The(ir) Blurb...

Unmarried Yao travels from Beijing to his village to celebrate the Chinese New Year – the most important family event in the country. The money he earns in the big city provides not only for his old parents but also his siblings and their children, who take it for granted that they should live off his regular payments as well. His mother, who has been deaf since childhood, looks after his care-dependent father. The latter desperately wants to see his second son married to the right woman, but Yao himself would prefer to find the right man. He has done well in the capital and his outstanding achievements have earned his father's respect but, ever the dutiful son, he finds himself putting aside his own needs in order to support the family’s continued demands. A touching insight into everyday life in China, where the economic boom of the cities is in stark contrast to the poverty experienced by those living in the countryside. Jordan Schiele depicts the sparseness of village life in timeless black-and-white, juxtaposing loud, chaotic family scenes with Yao’s reflective monologues.

Cast & Characters

Liu Zi Rui;
Jordan Schiele;    
Yao Shuo