About Walking with Her into the Night

by Léo Ortuno

A man and a woman are walking through deserted streets, like some distant memory of a lockdown, disappearing into the night in a never-ending flow of words. Hui Shu’s novel and intimate take on the end of days offers several mind-boggling tours de force. Intimate secrets and at times uncomfortable disclosures seal a relationship between two people as the Earth is collapsing on itself. 

Interview with Hui Shu

The couple

“In this couple, one is a factory boy with low self-esteem who is also a fool for love, the other is an outgoing girl, sometimes a bit manipulative, both are childlike and sympathetic. They belong to the lower class, and could easily be overlooked. They have their own survival wisdom and social circles while facing many material difficulties. They are eager to live a better life but don't have the means to start. They are eager to love but also discouraged by reality. I like such characters because they are vivid, realistic and interesting.”

A discussion like any other

“The first thing that came to my mind was a story where a pair of ordinary man and woman are walking and talking on a deserted street late at night, and the topic they are talking about sounds a bit childish and trivial. But it all happens on the last night on earth and the end of the world makes the former ordinary situation of walking and talking change, breaking the audience's expectations and bringing new viewing experience. It also serves as the emotion trigger of the pair, because the way they express their feelings is actually very subtle. But if the external environment is very unstable, so that their emotions could be like soda in a bottle: from the outside it is calm, but when you shake it and suddenly open it, all of it will gushes out.”

Directing the end of days 

“We used handheld shots for almost the entire film, mostly in close up, hoping that the audience could have a close look or even join their conversation, like walking down the street with them and experiencing the night together, so we rarely cut the camera to a calm and objective panoramic view.

Since the story is set on the last night, probably at that stage, there would be few people in the streets, or everyone would be hiding in their home, so we can't see other people or traffic in the film, which gives our characters an "open and closed space”. This will make the two of them feel close to each other. “

At La Semaine de La Critique