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Letters to the Wind

“Letters to the Wind”
A woman drafts imaginary letters to her daughter describing a secret her husband is forcing her to keep.
LETTERS TO THE WIND is my first short, and it follows that this is the first director’s statement I’ve had to write. And, four or five iterations in, I can’t help but think that the film speaks for itself far better than I ever will be able to. But that is in a sense what the film is about: how simultaneously futile and yet, paradoxically, urgently necessary it is to communicate. In late 2019, my mom was diagnosed with late-stage cancer and, as in the film, she refused to tell anyone else about her illness. The two of us spent the next eighteen months in almost complete isolation with one another due to the pandemic. And so, the one person with whom I was left to communicate all the fears, hopes, frustrations, and resentments of caretaking was also the cause of those emotions. I had loved ones in my life whom I wanted to express my feelings to, but it never seemed like the right time over the phone, or else I didn't want to burden them with my problems. But when I was finally able to see them again in-person over a year later, I found I had nothing left to say. LETTERS TO THE WIND ends how it begins, in nature, with the sound of the wind rustling through the leaves—with peace. Perhaps it is insurmountable—the gap between what we wish to communicate with one another and what we have the language to (isn’t that why we make films?). But I see now there is a peace to be found in the quietness left behind after our words have run their course. And in between these moments of communication and of quietness, I thought I might have learned something worth saying (trying to say) in a film. That making the effort to understand another person is somehow an essential step in understanding ourselves and being understood. And that care is reciprocal, and therefore becoming more fluent in receiving care will also make me a better caretaker.
13 Minutes
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Terrence Shu


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