Interview with Binghan Lin, director of The Trapped Pig
Thursday 9 February 2023, by
The Trapped Pig tells the almost surreal story of a Wuhan truck driver, who is travelling home for the Chinese New Year with a precious boar, being trapped in one-person quarantine zone at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is one of my two comedy coups de coeur of Clermont-Ferrand 2023. The Trapped Pig is both totally absurd and at times very much laugh out loud. With skilful comedic timing, Lin Binghan tells a story that’s also full of heart and compassion for its trapped protagonists, people and pig.
When and where did you film this short? What was the situation with Covid?
I shot this short film in Cining, a city in Northwest China, in 2020 summer. In that time, the situation with Covid was not good, and many people and the government feared of losing control of the epidemic, and they did not take the appropriate action for solving problems. Ignorance can lead to fear, and fear may lead to chaos.
The film is quite funny as the situation seems fairly ridiculous at times. How close is it to reality? Did you have to exaggerate much?
The original idea of this script came from a true event I read from the news. The situation shown in the film was very close to reality, and I did not have to exaggerate it. I used to write scripts based on true events because the reality itself seems to me more ridiculous than that we can imagine.
How was it shooting with a pig?
Difficult but fun. In fact, I used three pigs in this film during 3 shooting days, because they were all lack of patience. For the final scene, my protagonist needed to chase the pig, but the pig refused to follow orders, running towards the wrong direction. We tried to seduce it with all kinds of foods, but it didn’t work. We had to block the pig’s ways using all the crew to guide it in the right direction.
Tell us more about your background as a filmmaker. What films have inspired you in your work more generally?
I am a filmmaker based in Beijing, China. I directed six short films and I am writing my first feature film about a middle-age Chinese woman struggling with her nephew and trying to get her life back to normal. I am a huge fan of Paul Thomas Anderson, and I love all his works, especially Inherent Vice. He takes us into a journey, traveling with those charming characters from different times. At some point, we feel the film is telling stories of our own lives, and we can totally connect with the fictional characters through cinema.
What’s your favourite short?
Jean-Luc Godard made a short for the 22nd Ji.hlava IDFF. The film only lasts 1 minute, but we can find desperation and hope in it. Every time I watch it, I cry. Jean-Luc Godard, rest in peace.
What does the Festival mean to you?
This film festival is an event where we, film lovers, can watch films that we cannot see in common theatres, communicate with directors, and find funding for our next film.