About two families who meet for the first time, Wei Hu’s “What Tears Us Apart” is one of 12 finalists in TheWrap’s ShortList Film Festival, as presented by IMAX. The catch about the short film is that both sets of parents share the same daughter.
The film follows a young woman, Camille (Camille Debray), who was adopted by French parents after her Chinese parents gave her up as a baby. She was born when China had a one-child policy, and she already had an older sister.
“As a one child born in China, I have been very sensitive to the topic of abandonment and adoption,” Hu told TheWrap about his inspiration for the story. “Later, I lived and worked in France. As a minority I am increasingly interested in the identity under the diaspora context, which has been the theme of my creation for years.”
Hu pointed out that “this situation should be extremely rare. “In fact, it is hinted in film that Camille’s adoptive father Benoit has undergone a severe operation on his lungs, Hu said. “He has no idea how long he could live — so he always wants Camille to have a chance to meet her biological parents before he dies.”
Nai An plays Shen Dai, the young woman’s regretful birth mom. Isabelle Huppert plays her adoptive mother, Isabelle. The two cultures clash when Camille’s birth parents visit Paris. Camille has a daughter of her own, and Shen Dai compares her to her other daughter’s daughter. Camille is clearly uncomfortable with the situation, especially when her birth parents try to offer her money as a way of making amends–her adoptive parents are plenty wealthy.
“In fact, such [a] meeting is quite awkward and meaningless for both sides,” Hu told TheWrap. “The biological mother can never obtain redemption, nor can the daughter achieve salvation necessarily. However, Camille understands more clearly than her biological mother that love is giving and it cannot afford the wait.”
Hu says that he hopes audiences will realize the importance of their own relationships after seeing the film. “[Give] thanks to the people who brings us to this world, also the person who brings us up,” Hu said. “Always remember, don’t leave any regret in love.”
Hu has also directed “Butter Lamp” (2013) and “The Proprietor” (2012).
Watch “What Tears Us Apart” above. Viewers can also screen the films at any time during the festival at Shortlistfilmfestival.com and vote from Aug. 8-22. Presented with support from IMAX.