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The Wild Goose Lake 2019

The Wild Goose Lake | Nan Fang Che Zhan De Ju Hui | Le Lac aux oies sauvages

The Wild Goose Lake-Nan Fang Che Zhan De Ju Hui-Le Lac aux oies sauvages

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The story of a gangster on the run who eventually sacrifices himself to save his family and the woman he encounters along the way.

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About The Wild Goose Lake 💬

A gang leader on the run seeking redemption...
A girl in trouble risking everything to gain her freedom...
Both hunted on the hidden shores of The Wild Goose Lake.
They set a deadly gamble for what may be their last day.

  • DIAO YINAn - Q & A

Q: Throughout this movie two worlds are shown and compared in parallel: the Jiang Hu (criminal underworld) and the police (the forces of ''order''). Where did you get this idea?

Yi'nan Diao: I have quite extensive knowledge and experience of life in second and third-tier cities in China. I know it so well that you can find echoes in the real life of my imaginary stories. You mention the Jiang Hu. Jiang Hu exists in the ever-expanding outskirts of those cities. To me, the choice was instinctive. It could be seen as a choice of romance. Romance, the deeper kind of romance, only exists in Jiang Hu! Along with this, there is a choice of space, the kind of space that is inspired by characters and the storyline, waiting for them to explore it. I think the space in this movie is seedy, polluted, and anti-civilization. I invested the dark side of myself into it, to seek comfort. Crime movies can't exist without the police, nor can the Jiang Hu. The difference is that I show the police in plain clothes to make them look like a part of Jiang Hu, not in the uniform usually associated with the clean, civilized, and rigid image of authority. You think of them as two worlds. However, for me, they co-exist in one world, intertwined and parallel, dependent on each other, and inseparable.

Q: The first impression of the movie is of film noir (with a romantic hero and a femme fatale). But those two elements have their variations: the car thief follows the male romantic tradition of Chinese Kung Fu movies, like the quiet, introverted male lead in Chu Yuan's work; while the swim companion embodies Xia (chivalry) and Yi (loyalty) from ''Xia Nu'' (A Touch of Zen).

Yi'nan Diao: Maybe what you say is true. However, when I was writing the script, I didn't intentionally set out to differentiate them. I believe that film noir in the west and the pursuit of romance in Chinese wuxia movies are comparable. The difference is that in wuxia movies, there is more emphasis on the poetic and the aesthetic; while the film noir emphasizes fate (or the acceptance of fate) and darkness (night and the corruption of society) and desire. If there are variations, they are reflecting the complexity of human nature and its dark side. The heroes have their flaws and fears. The appearance of Xia (Chivalry) and Yi (loyalty) is not usually flagged or planned in advance. Each is more likely to emerge in an encounter, usually a sudden one, and the characters are caught in a whirlwind of instant emotions and desires.

Q: How did you establish the flashback in the middle of the movie? What is its purpose?

Yi'nan Diao: The very first image of this movie that came into my head was of a small rural train station at night in the rain. It almost became an obsession. No matter how the story evolved, I had to use that image at the start of the movie. I had no choice. For that reason, I cannot avoid using the flashback. However, a flashback is a method and a language. It creates alienation, as in Brechtian plays where the narrator constantly interrupts the smooth flow of the story, to remind us of the existence of reason. I think this is connected with the pursuit of a style. I like images that are simple, even old fashioned. I try to have them interact with other elements of the movie to create a harmonious juxtaposition if you will. You see the marks of the struggle or you can call it energy. There is art that is meant to be moving, to stir the emotions; and there is art which is subtle, thought-provoking. I lean towards the latter in this movie.

Q: Director, you have a special affinity for night scenes; you have been called the ''poet of the night''. In Black Coal, Thin Ice and the movies before that, most of your stories took place at night time, and the night carries the reality. How do you see ''night'', a concept that represents mystery and death? How do you reveal the poetry and beauty of the ''night''?

Yi'nan Diao: Retreat and escape need the protection of the night. In the darkness, characters are in a relatively open space. There are more choices visually. As you said, ''night'' conjures up a sense of mystery, relates to death. Some objects appear in the darkness, intangibly as sparks. The night is like an extra filter on the camera. The darkness has the elegance and simplicity of a black and white photograph. At the same time, the strong colors, shadows and lights, and empty roads join together to create a dream-like atmosphere, floating in the dark marshland. ''Night'' also adds a filter to my consciousness, allowing me to indulge in the subconscious, to take risks. I am not sure if I have come to a conclusion about the shooting of ''night''. After all, the world sometimes appears like a surreal stage in artificial light. People move around like animals, traveling along the edge between dream and reality. And there is also the silence of the night. A ray of light could almost make a sound in this silence. I am in love with the shadows created by the light and darkness. I can never tire of capturing them with the camera.

Q: How do you define the influence of the Chinese film tradition in this movie and what position does it hold in that tradition going forward? What frame of mind do you wish the audience to adopt to immerse themselves in the movie?

Yi'nan Diao: If the genre of martial arts movies is an important part of the Chinese film tradition, then I am definitely influenced by it. The influence also includes the way in which Beijing Opera uses space and changes scenes symbolically. I no longer bother with the outlines of the broader environment. I am only interested in the space created by the action, even if there is conflict between them. At the same time, I hope this movie is contemporary, non-psychological: it relies on actions/movements to present a concept. Humans are the accumulation of all their actions. I pull in different styles into this movie. That is consistent with my understanding of reality.

Q: In the movie, the keeper of the ''order'' (the police) relies mainly on the method of overall control; while the underworld is full of different forms of betrayal because of money. What/where is the future of Chinese society? Is your attitude pessimistic?

Yi'nan Diao: The two extremes you describe exist in every kind of society, but in different forms or degrees. I believe my two protagonists try to overcome certain fears, fear of death, fear of betrayal. They risk their lives to claim back their dignity as human beings; they counter humiliation with chivalry. This noble spirit existed in classical Chinese philosophy and traditional literature; it is the pursuit of ethics and morals. I appreciate this spirit, and hope to present it in the form of a movie. Chinese society has undergone unspeakable suffering and tragedies. Today, the process of modernization, the stress of development, make us forget to pay tribute to the traditional spirit at a time when we need it to be present in our spiritual life more than ever. In today's globalized world, danger and hope exist in every corner. But one thing is certain - there is always sadness in every society. No system can get rid of our suffering and fear of death. My attitude to the future is complex but positive. Your question reminded me of the scene in ''The Third Man'' when Harry Lime (Orson Welles) says: ''...in Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace - and what did they produce? The cuckoo clock.''

The Wild Goose Lake Movie Details 🎥

Directed by

Yi'nan Diao

Writing Credits

Yi'nan Diao


Ge Hu

Lun-Mei Kwei

Regina Wan

Fan Liao

Jue Huang

Chloe Maayan

Cinematography by

Jingsong Dong

Genres: Crime, Drama

Countries: China, France

The Wild Goose Lake Official Trailer

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