Drifting Petals + Q&A TBC

A man standing alone on an empty street at night time.
04 March
Arc Cinema
$12 / $10
Dir: Clara Law, TBC, Australia, 2021, 110mins, DCP,

A filmmaker and a piano student, who first meet in Australia, try to make sense of a past imbued with mystery in Macau and an uncertain future in Hong Kong. As Jeff, the piano player, anxiously roams the streets of Hong Kong, he encounters others who are also searching for meaning. Meanwhile, the filmmaker (voiced by director Clara Law) explores her birthplace Macau and meets a boy who reminds her of her brother who disappeared.

Curator’s Note:

Inspired by the writing of WG Sebald and the aesthetic of classical Chinese gardens, Drifting Petals defies easy categorisation by alternating between viewpoints, time, memoir and fiction.

Clara Law and regular collaborator Eddie L.C Fong spent over 5 years making this piece of 'alternate cinema' on a micro-budget, taking on the bulk of behind-the-camera roles themselves. This DIY approach and commitment to their creative vision results in a poignant work that examines the personal and political links between 2 cities close to the filmmakers' hearts.

Drifting Petals premiered at the 2021 Sydney Film Festival, before international berths at the International Film Festival Rotterdam and the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival. It screens at ACMI as a Victorian premiere.

Join us in the cinema for this special screening followed by a Q&A with director Clara Law and writer-producer Eddie L.C Fong.


Director’s statement:

As I watched my niece and nephews grow up from zero age to teenagers, I reflected on my own life journey and the fact that I was lucky enough to be given the chance to carve my own path.

And so I grieved, as I watched young lives stunted prematurely and unnecessarily from their growth and the chance to fully realise their potential as they fought for their dreams.

Yet I hope, as I also watched with the utmost admiration and respect the resilience and strength of the human spirit, as the yearning for freedom transcended all difficulties. History had taught me how the human spirits could rise and soar, and history repeated itself in front of my very eyes.

‘The world might end one day but the will of humans will not’. These words from a Chinese philosopher, my guiding light, especially in dark times like this.

The freedom of giving my best with no time constraint (in a way!), knowing the limitation yet finding as I dug deep into myself the pure limitless inner resources that could only come through a creative process like this, I relied on that exhilaration of ‘the first time’, to feel, think, see, experience everything like it had never been shown to me before, and found as I searched, and let the truth reveal itself.

 - Clara Law


see also:

‘It was strange and seductive’: film director Clara Law on finding home in Australia by Debbie Zhou, The Guardian, 2021

Film notes courtesy of ACMI.

This title is held in the NFSA collection.



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