I Am Another You
Directed by Nanfu Wang
Through the eyes of a young drifter who rejects society’s rules and intentionally chooses to live on the streets, Chinese filmmaker Nanfu Wang explores the meaning of personal freedom – and its limits.
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★★★½ review by Allison M. on Letterboxd
Based on the recommendation of a friend, I decided to see this instead of another movie. I thought it was a great exploration of a young woman from China witnessing an American young man who chose to live on the streets.
She takes a few years to see the whole scope of the story. Really, it was a well-done adventure documentary.
This was the 36th film I saw with Movie Pass.
★★★★½ review by Ken Rudolph on Letterboxd
Documentary film maker Nanfu Wang left her native China in 2011 to find the elusive freedom of expression that she needed for her art. She settled in New York City; but returned to China to make an important documentary, Hooligan Sparrow, following a group of dissidents from city to city, and herself getting into trouble and barely escaping with her smuggled tapes.
But prior to her Chinese adventure, she had taken her video camera to Florida, and by chance hooked up with a young homeless man, Dylan Olsen. Wang learned that Olsen came from a Mormon family, his father was a detective, he had a younger brother and sister. Wang decided to accompany Olsen for a while, experiencing the personable boy's homelessness and itinerant lifestyle (the ultimate expression of the freedom she emigrated for) along with him, and openly taping his encounters, mostly with surprisingly friendly, open and generous people. She eventually left him on the road; and after her film making adventure in China, she decided to search for Dylan's roots in Utah.
She did find his family; and hooked up with Dylan again for another extended encounter. The resulting film was surprisingly moving and illuminating, with Dylan as vagabond and street poet...and incidentally Dylan as poster boy for the millions of mentally ill homeless in America. Ms. Wang had fortuitously tapped into a subculture that has been crying out to be seen; and her alien sensibility was the ideal vessel to experience it with.
★★★★ review by alex on Letterboxd
I like how the film is as much about Wang's journey as a filmmaker really considering the implications of her work and her role as a participant in what she is documenting. She is a bold voice with a beautiful style of making and I can't wait to watch her previous work and to see more from her !
★★★★★ review by Siân on Letterboxd
This was at the top of my Hot Docs list because Nanfu Wang's first documentary, Hooligan Sparrow, is a fave of mine.
I don't know how Wang captures people the way she does, but it is absolutely mesmerizing and poetic. She is a true explorer—genuinely curious about the world and it shows in her documentaries.
★★★★½ review by Trevor Ball on Letterboxd
A chance encounter with a charismatic individual leads the filmmaker on an adventure that teaches her (and us) a thing or two about humanity, and how each of us fits (or doesn't) into our society. This checks off all the boxes for a great documentary: interesting subjects, unpredictability and good fortune, a strong narrative, teachable moments, and a lasting message. I feel like anyone would come away from this with some new wisdom or at least a richer perspective.
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