By XING CHOUWEN
BEIJING (China Daily Show) – After taking full advantage of a 2-for-1 special on Mojitos at a downtown Beijing bar, self-defined freelance artist Brian Hannigan, 27, informed friends and onlookers that he would commence shooting on his eagerly anticipated China movie, starting first thing Monday morning.
“It’ll open on the subway, with this foreigner – played by me – looking all lost and confused?” the former steel welder-turned-cinematic auteur asked a rapt audience of wait staff.
“There’s, like, beggars and prostitutes everywhere. But everyone avoids eye-contact… which is weird.”
The specifics of how Hannigan’s narrative continues were unclear at press time, but vignettes colorfully drawn in red pen across several napkins were shown to bar staff and patrons at the impromptu preview.
Among planned scenes were insightful shots of an overturned bicycle, an old woman scavenging through garbage, sleeping security guards and what Hannigan said was his favorite motif, a paper bag blowing through Tiananmen Square.
Hannigan was at pains to insist that the film would be “a total departure from the usual indie crap you see out here,” and would instead “really get to the bare bones of China.”
Film student and occasional collaborator Forrest Vincent, 25, said he hoped the fledgeling director would choose his proposed title – Red, White and Yellow: A Reel American in Real China – over Hannigan’s own tentative moniker Fuck All This Shit.
His arm around the waist of girlfriend Dolphin’s slight waist, a visibly intoxicated Hannigan said the film as a whole was intended as an indictment of both China and those foreigners who visit the country, behave badly and pronounce themselves expert Sinologists during their brief sojourn.
“Losers who come here to get laid and make snap cultural judgments about a culture they have no insight into, basically,” Hannigan explained. “Hey, man, another Mojito,” he added.
Despite having lived in Beijing nearly four years, Hannigan has declined to take up a now-dwindling number of job offers, ruling them “another form of Communist slavery.” He has also refused to learn Chinese, insisting that such a decision would “play right into [the government’s] hands.”
“English has power out here,” he told our rapidly tiring reporter. “Nobody responds to Chinese. It’s all, like, censored. If you want to get through to the migrant workers, the peasants and the grassroots artists, use the lingua franca. English. What Chinese person will turn to Chinese-language film as a source of inspiration? Would you?” he asked a bemused passer-by, mopping spittle from the bar.
Questioned as to how he intended to fund his magnum opus, Hannigan remained tight-lipped but close friends have hinted that a close relative, Michael Hannigan, a retired company head, is said to have expressed an obligation to show interest in the project.
“Make no mistake, after I pick up my friend Josh’s camera first thing tomorrow, things are going change in the Middle Kingdom,” Hannigan emphasized. “A hard wind’s a-blowing.”
As of 3pm Monday, however, Hannigan was still asleep on friend and executive producer Mitch Trader’s couch, after watching a succession of episodes of The Wire as part of his ongoing background research.
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