Opening 26 Apr 2012
Following a clandestine tryst with her married lover, the lone laborer Kwok Yun (She Ke) picks up an odd fragment and has an otherworldly experience – this glowing gigantic dumpling-shaped object must be a… UFO?! That same day she subsequently aids an American debilitated by snakebite, but he also disappears. Learning of these events, the village’s Chief Chang ambitiously uses Kwok Yun to further Chang’s, and the Three-Headed Bird Village’s, political gain. Tourism and development based on Kwok Yun’s UFO sighting, undersigned by a healthy contribution from the now distant and recovered wealthy American, and with abandonment for any environmental repercussions, set off a chain of sad events. Kwok Yun, promoted to "model peasant" status, slowly grasps that what she really wants is freedom, which she anticipates might be possible with a like-minded cast-out that she is drawn to, as the debacle to her village intensifies.
The herd mentality, i.e. communist doctrine versus individuality, is prominent in writer and director Xiaolu Guo’s ironic UFO In Her Eyes. Within this environment there are those few depicted whose awareness is trounced by the majority: a fisherman whose daily catch dwindles because of the water pollutants from the village’s modernization, Kwok Yun’s educator lover, and the bicycle repairman. With beautiful photography of southern China, this surrealistic film is captivating. (Marinell Haegelin)
Nothing much happens in the small village in southern China until Kwok Yun (She Ke) tells of her experience – or fantasy? – during one hot and humid afternoon. While she is dizzily resting under a tree (after a clandestine love-making session with the married school headmaster), something bright catches her eye and she faints. When she wakes up, she finds an injured foreigner (Udo Kier) next to her. She dresses his wounds and rushes off for help. On her return the stranger has gone. Kwok files a report with the local village chief, the feisty Ms Chang, who decides that an UFO must have landed. The authorities from the city are called in, interviewing the naïve and illiterate villagers. Nobody confirms anything like a flying saucer; nevertheless the site is declared a tourist attraction. Kwok receives a medal and is declared a “model citizen”. Bulldozers destroy the fields; a monument is built and road signs show tourist groups the way. By now, the future of the village has been decided. Everyone is embracing the Party-approved capitalism. The peasants are mindlessly chanting commercial advertisements in unison with political slogans. Kwok Yun’s world exists no longer. Will she have the strength to create a new one for herself?
Xiaolu Guo's second feature film (after She, a Chinese) is an adaptation of her own novel. It is a reflection of the social upheaval in the chaotic contemporary Chinese society told with irony and a dash of surrealism. (Birgit Schrumpf)