An elderly Chinese immigrant woman strongly desires to return to her hometown in China in Luying Wang’s short film, Drifting Boat.
Looking out across the ocean, Ying Zi (Sarah Gu) tells her granddaughter that the waves crashing upon the shore come from her homeland of China. Later, she hears the news that her longtime friend and owner of the local Chinese supermarket passed away. He had always wanted to return to his homeland one last time.
“…the waves crashing upon the shore come from her homeland of China.”
While praying to her late husband, Ying Zi is reminded that time is running short. Ying Zi’s longing for her hometown of Hebei only intensifies during the Chinese New Year dinner with her son’s family. While talking at the table, Ying Zi’s granddaughter struggles to speak to her in Chinese.
For many of our grandparents, leaving China was not necessarily their decision but more of a necessity. Though they were happy to find success in America, Drifting Boat explores the decades-old feelings of loss and the slow disappearance of Ying Zi’s culture in the coming generations. These feelings are captured beautifully in Sarah Gu’s performance, the production design “spoken” from Ying Zi’s point of view, and in Luying Wang’s touching tale.
For more information, visit the Drifting Boat Instagram page.