Pengfei – Director – Underground Fragrance
FRED’s Matt Micucci interviews director Pengfei, whose feature directorial debut UNDERGROUND FRAGRANCE was featured in the programme of the Venice Days section of the 72nd Vanice Film Festival. The director talks to us about the cultural context that inspired the film, and his knowledge of the drifting community, which is one of its driving concepts. He also tells us about how it was to work with non actors and comments on the attention he pays to architecture as well as the specific and particular visual style he employs.
Plot: Yong Le, a young migrant worker from the south, salvages furniture to re-sell. He lives in a room in Beijing’s Underground City, a labyrinthian former bomb shelter that serves as cheap housing for people looking for opportunity in the big city. But after a bad work accident leaves him temporarily blind, he has to use a rope to find his way around the dimly lit basement halls, until the night meets a girl at the other end of his rope. Xiao Yun, is a migrant too. She is desperately trying to find new employment so that she can leave her job pole dancing at nights. Her meeting with Yong Le and their burgeoning relationship encourages her to hunt for a more respectable job. At ground level, old Lao Jin has been struggling for years to get a decent compensation deal from the authorities who want to demolish his house. His health is declining and his savings are evaporating. And he’s counting on Yong Le to sell his furniture at a good price. Three lives propelled by the “Chinese Dream” intermingle in the vast melting pot of the Beijing metropolis.