Double feature: “Footnote” and “The Story of Qui Ju” are two films that explore the concept of advocacy. Both contrast characters who can’t, or won’t, stand up for themselves with relatives who defend their interests by proxy, often against their own. The former are partially motivated by pride and practicality, the latter by a sense of justice being violated.
Both films demonstrate how it is simultaneously easier and more difficult to argue on someone else’s behalf, rather than for oneself. In so doing, both complicate our notions of man’s inherent self-interest. Sure, the proxy fighters in both films put themselves in harm’s way to stand up for others. But since these others are close relatives, can their actions really be described as selfless?
Beyond this, the films make an interesting pairing in their differing levels of intergenerational tension. “Footnote” shows a father and son inhabiting two separate worlds in the same city, while “The Story of Qui Ju” depicts a multi-generational family living in the harmony of a shared worldview, working together to synthesize modernity with age-old traditions (which, by the way, “Footnote”‘s son is mocked and applauded for attempting in his work).
Bonus points to “The Story of Qui Ju”‘s visual feast of technicolor textiles and flushed porcelain cheeks.
For a marathon: After “The Story of Qui Ju,” check out “Not One Less” for another example of the formidable will that can be housed in the most delicate of frames and most straightforward of minds.
Contrast the filial duty and sense of responsibility in “Footnote” with that displayed by the children and children-in-law in “Tokyo Story.”
(Creative Commons licensed original images courtesy of “grongar” and “owenstache” at Flickr)