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Interview with Isaac Julien*

CH: In Ten Thousand Waves, what strikes me is your poeticizing of an event that was essentially quite tragic given its political circumstances and the fatal outcome.  However, by ways of integrating ancient Chinese mythology, a fictional protagonist in a nostalgic old Shanghai backdrop and contrary to a sense of disruption, the juxtaposition of shots presenting busy high ways and tall sky scrapers in a modern city of China that is rapidly growing economically, everything works together seamlessly.  This piece reads to me like a romantically weaved dream longing for a better life, transitioning from the old to the new.  I find your usage of a certain style of film language unique in a way that the story is told from many different angles.  Can you tell me, how you had envisioned realizing this work visually in the beginning? And what might have taken you into another direction after you had done so much research on ancient and modern Chinese culture?

IJ: My work is always led by my re…

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