La chinesca (en)

La chinesca



Bani Khoshnoudi


  • Mexico


Feature film



Film exhibited in Toulouse: 

Fireflies (Luciérnagas)

Script writer(s): 

Bani Khoshnoudi


Mixing time periods and reactivating a lost image of Mexicali’s Chinese community, La Chinesca tells the story of Haydée, a young woman from Sonora, forced by her family to migrate to Mexicali in 1922 because of an illegitimate pregnancy. After having to give up her son in order to marry an older, wealthy landowner, she delves into the Chinese underground tunnel city where she discovers opium and has a passionate affair with Lee, a Chinese man her age. Ninety years later, her great granddaughter Lola, a young punk rock singer with mixed-race traits, lives her slow, anti establishment life in the dull, desert Mexicali of today. Intricate narration and spectacular landscapes reflect the radically different times and expectations on these two women, slowly unraveling layers of migration, marginalization and sexual freedom, while delving into the infamous underground Chinatown of the 1930s.

Visual concept: 

Seeking to evoke a feeling of a time without literally reconstructing a period, the film will aesthetically turn to costumes, makeup and decors of the past, but the mise-en-scene and camera work will be close, tight and energized in order to relay Haydée’s turmoil and erotic escape to the underground. The film’s other, contemporary layer relies on spectacular landscapes and the slowness of long, heavy shots and music to convey Lola’s life, which is emblematic of her generation, detached as it is a place so peripheral as Mexicali.