Interview | Actor Xi Meijuan: Because "Mom! ", the switch to restart the creation

    The movie "Mom! ", Xi Meijuan plays a retired university professor suffering from Alzheimer's disease. At the age of 65, she did not get married and had children, and in her later years, she lived with her 85-year-old mother played by Wu Yanshu. In the absence of men, a mother and daughter who are graceful and self-sufficient in their twilight years have contributed a rare and vivid screen image to Chinese films.

    "Mother! "Still, Xi Meijuan and Wu Yanshu

    The mother-daughter relationship in the film is also cyclical. In the first half of the film, what the audience sees is a peaceful intellectual family and a daughter who takes care of an old mother with all her heart. A daughter is more like a mother, who takes care of and maintains the order of the family, and has the power, anxiety and nagging that are common in most mothers. The director Yang Lina made up a story that was too cruel. It was the daughter who was sick. The old mother, who was originally dependent on her daughter, picked up the skills and courage of life again after learning about her daughter's illness, and healed the people in life with compassion and tenderness. All over the place chicken feathers and memories are devastated.

    "Mother! "Stills

    The theme of Alzheimer's disease and aging is full of tingling itself. Under the twilight of the body, after the memory fades, the irreparable scars of time and history engraved in the bone and blood are exposed, carrying a deeper theme expression.

    Externally, it is a story of a mother returning to her instincts to protect her child, and the core expression of the director is the role of her daughter. Feng Jizhen, played by Xi Meijuan, is rigorous, rigid, and meticulous, and uses a lifetime of repression and restraint to atone for an unbearable guilt in her heart. After the onset, in the life and memories that are both true and illusory, the boundary between reality and inner heart gradually blurs, and the repressed part of "human nature" gradually begins to reveal itself. The lesions attacked her and liberated her. The events in the movie happened at the moment when my daughter was ill, and the actors' lines, limbs, and expressions had to carry a distant and long time.

    Actor Wu Yanshu talked about praising Xi Meijuan when filming a scene where mother and daughter were sitting on the bed and recalling their father's past, "I was stunned at that scene, I was out of the show at the time, and I was watching her like an audience member. , it's a textbook performance."

    "Mother! "Stills

    Some of the bookish lines that are "off the ground" are actually convincing when they fall into specific performances. This is the skill of the actors.

    Xi Meijuan has made remarkable achievements all the way in her performance. At first, she was active in Shanghai Renyi's drama stage, and her drama "Chinese Dream" won the Plum Blossom Award. The heroine; in 2000, she played the villain Lan Sihong in the TV series "Red Carnation", and won the Feitian Award. In the same year, "Full Moon Tonight" won her the Huabiao Award... In terms of awards, she has already Collect the "Grand Slam". In recent years, she has not appeared in many movies, and she has also played more elder roles in TV dramas.

    See "Mom! "The moment the script was written, Xi Meijuan knew that this role was not easy, but then the most difficult part for her was to decide to turn on the "switch" of her own creation.

    "Mother! "Stills

    In the process of shaping Feng Jizhen, Xi Meijuan drew on her observations of life over the years, mobilized her emotional memory in her life experience, and immersed herself in guessing the character's psychology and state. I vented a lot, but my heart suffered from "shocks like the sky and the earth cracking" again and again.

    In her creative journal, she wrote the reaction of her acting daughter when she found out that she was ill, "I let myself and the character be completely immersed in the darkness and darkness of the moment. After filming the scene that day, I was dripping with sweat. The whole body is powerless, and I experience the excited state of my whole body after colliding with a mysterious life form of an unknown person. This is the excitement of artistic creation!"

    Before the film was released, actress Xi Meijuan was interviewed by The Paper, telling about her encounter with Feng Jizhen and her hesitation and excitement about "restarting the switch".

    [The following is Xi Meijuan's self-reported]

    Always be ready to "run away" before shooting

    "Mother! "This play is very special. In recent years, more and more attention has been paid to Alzheimer's disease, including film and television works all over the world, and many good works that move people's hearts have also appeared. Even my own in previous TV dramas Also played similar roles, but like "Mom! ” This movie confronts Alzheimer’s patients and their families directly, which brings confusion and great pressure to the family after the disease, and it is the first time that a movie has reached such a far-reaching level in a person’s heart. I think it is very precious that artworks can face the social reality in this way, and I am very happy to participate in making this theme into a movie to dedicate to the audience.

    "Mother! "Stills

    The daughter I play in this movie is Feng Jizhen. She is a retired science university teacher and a woman who is full of rationality in her life. The illness changed her life, turned her relationship with her mother, and revealed her past with her family, and revealed the psychological shadow cast by the turbulence she experienced growing up. Although the film does not directly tell a certain historical background, the trauma conveyed through this character is something that every audience can feel. And the way she chooses to face the predicament will also make people feel the power of such a female character.

    In fact, in the early days of meeting Feng Jizhen's role, I was entangled. Based on past experience, I knew when I saw the script whether I wanted to take it or not. I have always respected my own job and believed in my profession, so I took every choice very seriously.

    I met director Yang Lina at a Plum Blossom Awards event in Nanjing early last year. She told me about the movie and the character, and I was instantly intrigued. But in the end, I actually took the role, and I was hesitant for several months in the process. The biggest confusion is not that I am not sure about the role, but that I am thinking, when an actress reaches my age, should I "seek trouble" and make myself such a stressful thing?

    Of course, I also act every year, but now more often, with my decades of experience in acting, I can follow the trend. At this age, in other industries, it is time to retire. The roles that I have found most of the time these years are the supporting roles in dozens of episodes of serial dramas. Of course, we will respect these characters enough, but playing them Characters usually do not cause this psychological burden.

    "Mother! "Stills

    But this movie is really just the mother and daughter. So I told the director, you have the courage to hand over a movie to two middle-aged and elderly actors.

    At this age, I have to restart a relatively large "switch" for myself, to open myself, to create and challenge some unknowns under the pressure, I have made a great determination on this matter. So much so that in the process of approaching the role, I never conveyed a clear "I decided to take on this role" message to the director or producer. Half a month before filming, I didn't even sign the contract. The producer came to Shanghai on purpose to meet me and said, "Mr. Xi, you won't sign with me, I'm very uneasy." But at that time, I was always thinking of leaving a way out, and I felt like I was going to "run away".

    But the hesitation itself shows that this matter is attractive to me. I can't put this role in my heart, and I want to play it. I know this is a challenge, and I also know that such opportunities are rare on the road of artistic creation, so I finally decided to reset the switch for myself and put my heart and soul into it. At the same time, I also want to prove that at this age, I still have the ability to take on such a heavy responsibility, and can I make a second attempt?

    Finding the Roots of Humanity in Unknown Characters

    I have written a creative journal. In the past, we usually used the birth of a character or the experience in the performance to run through our creation notes, but this time, because the character is too complicated, too difficult to meet, it is a too unique creative experience, I especially want to put the whole psychological process. Make a record.

    When I decided to make this record, a topic naturally came to my mind, which was "Searching for the Root of Humanity in an Unknown Character". I don't know why such a question popped out of my mind at the time, maybe such a proposition has always been rooted in my heart.

    This is not an ordinary character, and there are too many unknowns in the process of creation, so in the process of acting, I kept following the character into her heart, to understand what she did, until she was completed, this process really is particularly interesting.

    In the past, acting in our era always emphasized that actors must experience life, but this role is too special, and it is actually cruel and disrespectful to explore too many patients and their family conditions that are happening now. Intentionally or unintentionally, I remember seeing various reports over the years, and I have encountered such patients several times in my life. I don’t know that one day I will play such a person, but in retrospect, I can try my best to regain those emotional memories, and I think it may be helpful to this character.

    "Mother! "Stills

    The daughter in the movie, with the aggravation of her condition, needs to complete a deeper expression in the director's alternate narrative when facing the external world of her life and her inner world. When I was doing script desk work before filming, I once wrote something like this: "The actor must first have a cognition of the disease (rational) - and then enter the character (emotional and rational intertwined) - may appear When I suddenly enter and then wander out..." This state is something I have never tried in my previous characterizations, there are challenges, and there is an excitement of creation every day.

    Although the reality is intertwined in time and space, when entering the performance of the characters, it is actually "real". A real patient I think the world I feel at the moment of the onset is real. In my life, I have encountered patients talking to themselves at the dinner table, when we were both sympathetic and confused. What impressed me was that a teacher said at the time, "He must have an object in his head communicating with him". I think such a patient is a very real person when he is awake, but when he is ill, it appears to outsiders to be an illusory world, and for the patient, there is also its logic in it. As a professional, we really have to do a lot of homework on how to change the balance of our performances.

    "Mother! "Stills

    The subtlety lies in the sense of proportion in which you play a patient. As the lesions continue to increase, the daughter is also a complete process of being completely possessed and integrated by a "phantom" in her heart from nothingness to reality. In the practice of this film, I really feel that I have gained a lot of professional possibilities and can go a step further.

    As an intellectual woman, although Feng Jizhen seems to be "tough" in life at first, she is also a very kind person. She uses her kindness to change the fate of others. Very rational to try to arrange everything properly. Of course, her choice is a matter of the benevolent and the wise. We don't think this is a standard answer to face the disease, and I'm not sure what everyone will feel after reading it, but I believe she will see it. Some little inspirations and revelations from those who arrived.

    Be an actor all your life, go forward and see a bigger world

    In this mother-daughter relationship, Wu Yanshu and I are the mutual achievements of two professional actors. I think I have a natural fit with Mr. Wu. Because they are two sufficiently professional actors, we didn't specifically develop any feelings or prepare for the intimate atmosphere between mother and daughter. We felt like we hit it off on set.

    In addition, the proportion of women in the entire crew is very high this time, not only the directors and producers are women, but even the photographers and styling designers are women, and these female filmmakers are not only emotionally delicate, but also very powerful technically, we do not emphasize This is a "female film", but such a creative atmosphere does make people feel that the scene has a special feeling, seeing the power of female filmmakers growing.

    I'm a relatively late film maker, I've been on stage for 15 years before I made the first "Fake Girl". At that time, Wu Zhennian, the female director of Shanghai Film Studio, was also preparing to make her first movie. We had worked together on some TV series before and had some tacit understanding. At that time, she often came to my house with the script and spread the script on the sofa and bed, and we would go through it one by one from morning to night, from beginning to end. The atmosphere was very good, and I still miss it. This kind of trust itself can communicate a lot of fresh things. "Fake Girl True Love" won me the Golden Rooster Award for the first time I played the heroine in a movie. It has been 30 years since then.

    "Fake Girl True Love" stills

    Many people say that the starting point is high and that I am an award-winning professional, but I don't think those honors really affect me. I don't know if others will think it's "Versailles". I do. Every time I take on art creations, I never regard winning or not as a standard or a kind of pressure on myself. a habit.

    In the more than ten years I have been in Shanghai Renyi, the influence of those senior artists is that as long as you do your job well, you can go up step by step in your profession. With each step, you can see more scenery in front of you, and when you go further up, you can see a larger piece of scenery and heaven and earth. The process itself is fulfilling and happy. If I talk about the starting point of my acting career, the 15 years of experience in Shanghai Renyi are more important than awards. Now that I am in my 60s, I will look back and think about the experience that was very precious. In today’s words, it laid the foundation. I have only been an actor in my life, and I have never done anything else, which is something I am proud of.

    "Mother! "Rational and restrained, affectionate but not sensational, both caring for reality and humanistic care, I am very happy to meet this role at this age, and I am very happy that I have made up my mind to restart this switch.


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