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The Speech

25m Drama 2020

Language:Mandarin with English Subtitles


Synopsis May 2003, Beijing. Under pressure from the World Health Organisation, the Chinese government has announced that the SARS outbreak is real. The city is closed, and most students have been sent home. During the lockdown, three eight-year-old girls inside a private boarding school struggle to make sense of the world.

Director’s Statement It was a hot summer day at a boarding school on the outskirts of Beijing, China. The principal announced over the loudspeaker during activity time: nobody was allowed to go home anymore. The school was going to be locked down because of the outbreak of SARS. I was eight years old, sitting in my classroom, struggling to memorise the lines for my first public speech ever. Moments like this keep coming back to me as I’ve grown up. I have constantly found myself in similar situations despite the passing of time and the changes in my body. The only difference is that as I get older and older, I’m not as honest about my feelings as when I was a kid. With this film, I want to capture the raw emotions stimulated by childhood discoveries, the urgency to make sense of the ambiguous and arbitrary world, the bold decisions, the awkward fantasies, and the rare moment of finding our place on the map of the world.

Festivals & Awards highlights The 68th San Sebastian International Film Festival - Special Mention of the Jury 2020 Rhode Island International Film Festival - Filmmaker of the Future Award


Haohao Yan


Haohao Yan







Bonus Content

Q&A with Director Haohao Yan