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When I Look at You, Will You Look at Me?

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When I Look at You, Will You Look at Me?

May 7, 2024, 5:00 a.m. ET
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Video by Shuli Huang

Mr. Huang is a Sundance award-winning filmmaker.

When the filmmaker Shuli Huang made the diarylike documentary above, he was struggling to find his place in the world. As his life and study in New York City were put on pause during the pandemic, Shuli returned to his hometown Wenzhou, China. He bought a Super 8 mm camera and started filming his loved ones without a precise intention.

Back home with his parents, Shuli found himself confronted by the past and lingering tensions with his mother. As his need to discuss his truth became overwhelming, Shuli turned the camera on himself and his family.

The distanced gaze of the lens seemed to provide the courage and justification he needed to have the difficult conversations with his mother that he’d been putting off. The making of the film, which Shuli titled “Will You Look at Me,” offered a way for mother and son, who love each other but struggle to set aside personal and cultural expectations, to see each other.

Shuli Huang is a Chinese writer, director and cinematographer based in New York. “Will You Look at Me” won the 2022 Golden Horse Award for best documentary short film, the Queer Palm for best short film at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival and the 2023 Sundance Film Festival’s nonfiction short award.

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