The Vanishing Time

 

Logline

English Literature student Amy Chan starts a passionate affair with her professor, leading to a series of devastating events that change the course of her life and the lives of those around her.

Synopsis

Amy Chan is an eighteen-year-old Chinese university student living in the UK . She finds escape from troubles at home in her poetry and through attending classes run by the British professor Jeremy Watson. In Amy’s eyes, Jeremy’s lecturer wife Erin is perfect. Jealous of Erin, she writes a love poem to Jeremy, and an attraction between the two develops. In the throes of a mid- life crisis, Jeremy allows Amy’s infatuation to grow, leading to consequences beyond their control.

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Circular Sky - a song featured in
The Vanishing Time (Original Score)
Music: Phil Anderson
Lyrics: Robert Williams
Circular Sky Instrumental
Music: Phil Anderson

Project Status

The Vanishing Time is the eagerly-awaited debut feature from acclaimed Hong Kong writer and director Shan Ng, who has won numerous awards around the world for her short films and theatre work.

The passionate and highly-sexualised psychological drama is set to shoot in London and China in early 2018, with partial funding already in place from the Hong Kong Arts and Development Council and other sources.

The UK-Hong Kong/China co-production has been written and designed with international appeal in mind, with a global festival tour and cinema release in the UK and Hong Kong.

With the script complete, casting and location scouting are currently underway in the UK and China, with  Vaticinate Pictures on-board as producer and Rene Sheridan as executive producers.

The project is now seeking further international funding, with a variety of opportunities and co-production options available.

Comparables

Showcasing Shan Ng’s strong visual sense, character-driven narrative focus and tackling of challenging themes regarding the many ways in which human beings relate to and interact with each other, The Vanishing Time can be compared to a rich and diverse pool of internationally-acclaimed films from China, the UK and beyond, including the likes of Youth  (2017), Us and them (2018), Little Big Women (2020), The Farewell (2019) and others. The film is also steeped in literature, drawing from Suddenly Last Summer, The Masque of the Red Death and other classic works. Culturally and cinematically, the film is a fusion of the East and West, exploring global themes while showing a mixture of Chinese and British characteristics and perspectives.

Director Statement

I see The Vanishing Time as a rites of passage film with a complex character map. The main drive of the film is the intricate relationship between Amy and Jeremy leading to the tragedy of John’s death.

The film explores how young and adult desires collide. Amy’s young desire is romantic, truthful and adventurous, though she looks up to the adults as they have knowledge, power and success. The adults, on the other hand, yearn for youth, and the film uses voyeurism as a tool to explore this notion of ‘wanting to be someone else’.

The university setting represents a kind of alternative reality, where dreams are formed and broken before we enter the ‘real’ world. Against this backdrop, the film has a strong mixture of dreaminess and violence; the collision of childhood and sexuality, and an overriding feeling of doom. When John takes his life, the ways in which Amy and Jeremy try to handle their guilt reflects a key part of growing up, the realisation that actions have consequences, which can scar you for the rest of your life. Through this, I believe The Vanishing Time will resonate with both younger viewers finding their way in life and older audiences looking back on choices they have made.

I am excited about the challenge of directing a script that’s half in Chinese and half in English, and the vision of connecting to a wider audience. More importantly, Chinese living in the UK are rarely portrayed in films, though our lives are real and valid, with passionate stories to tell.