A young woman struggles to break her accent in Shicong Zhu’s short film, de closin night. Siyi (Ella Rouwen Chen) is a student from China attending a prestigious American theater school. She is performing works by Chekhov in an upcoming show, and her family is flying in to see her on stage.
According to the extremely tough director, Henderson (Rod Menzies), Siyi is not quite ready to perform because tiny bits of her accent still seep into her speech. He warns her that if Siyi doesn’t improve, she’ll be relegated to the role of understudy for the exceedingly better student Jane (Jocelyn Liu). Under tremendous pressure to shake her accent, Siyi won’t speak Chinese to her mother and attempts to avoid interacting with her cousin, who recently lost his father.
“…not quite ready to perform because tiny bits of her accent still seep into her speech.”
de closin night spotlights the struggle of identity that many immigrants find themselves working through in a new land. Her new home is in the U.S., and she still feels like an outsider. Yet when looking back to her past, she slowly releases part of her Chinese heritage in the process. Thankfully, she finds allies along the way. As Siyi, Ella Rouwen Chen gives an honest and authentic portrayal of this struggle, finding strength in the end. Brielle Yuke Li produces the short alongside Chen.
de closin night premiered at the 2022 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.
"…spotlights the struggle of identity that many immigrants find themselves working through..."