A 99-year-old Chinese man exploring the meaning of life
Born in 1921. He is considered the “only poetry translator between Chinese, English and French.” He has published more than 170 books, translating not only the work of western writers into Chinese
-- including William Shakespeare, John Dryden, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Stendhal, Maupassant, Romain Rolland, Gustave Flaubert, and Henry Taylor
-- but also translating ancient Chinese into French and English, such as poetry from the Warring States period (400s B.C.), Tang Dynasty and Song Dynasty (600s-1200s A.C.) of Qu Yuan, Du Fu, Li Bai, and Li Qingzhao, etc.
In 1938 he went to the National Southwest Associated University, which was founded by young scholars and intellectuals who rose up to fight their battles through literacy during the war. In the 1950s, he studied in France and traveled around Europe.
In 2014, he was the first Asian winner of the “Aurora Borealis” prize, the highest award in the translation field.
The 96-year-old translator Xu Yuanchong lives a calm and sweet life with his wife. Although he has been retired for over 20 years, Xu still works hard and translates 1,000 words a day. He is determined to finish translating The Complete Works of William Shakespeare before the age of 100. He almost lost the ability to walk because of an accidental fall, and his work was forced to be paused. After months of care from his wife, he successfully made it through his leg surgery and returned home, where he continued to work day and night on translations. However, just as everything got back on track, his wife‘s sudden death left 98-year-old Xu Yuanchong’s life in chaos again...
During the film, we not only learn the story of Xu Yuanchong but also the story of his friendship with the director Yun and her acceptance into the translator's life. In the beginning, Xu rejects the director's work, but as time goes on he comes to trust her to share his story. As he opens up, their conversation travels through the histories of China and Europe, international politics, classical literature, poetry, the phenomenal changes in China, and the difference between China's generations. Over time, the director was not only accepted but also became a part of their family, taking care of the old couple each day and helping with daily tasks. She personally feels the loss of Xu’s wife Zhaojun along with him Xu, and they overcome the heartbreak together.
Duration: 95 minutes (tentative)
Location: Beijing, Kunming
Shooting time: May 2017- April 2019
Completion time: October 2020
Estimated release date: December 2020
Presented by: Beijing SDT Media
Production: Beijing SDT Media, Panda Consulting
Looking for: Sponsorship for upcoming publicity and distribution activities
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