Qi’an and Aimo are close friends and students living in London. Having been offered a weekend job as translators, they travel to an old English family mansion in the countryside. They are to transcribe the films of a Chinese Kunqu Opera star Susu who married into the English family.
The two girls are intrigued by the mansion and the enormous collection of items from the golden age of cinema, but Qi’an and Aimo quickly become unsettled by the strange environment and the family members who live at the mansion. Their host Shirley, is a wheelchair bound transvestite, a 90 year old housekeeper Margaret, an eccentric priest who lives next door and an ambitious journalist, who visits to source material for a biography of Susu, all make the girls realise that life at the mansion is not as it seems.
Qi’an feels uneasy and suggests to Aimo that they should leave as soon as possible. However, the arrival of the handsome heir to the house, Benjamin, changes the situation. Both girls develop affections for him and soon, a growing tension exists between them. Aimo goes missing and Qi’an discovers some of the disturbing secrets that occupants of the house would rather not reveal. Qi’an tries to escape, just as Susu did 28 years before, but the house cannot allow her to reveal the truth…
Director Yixi Sun
Originally from Beijing, writer／director Yixi Sun was educated at the Communication University of China and Royal Holloway, University of London, where she achieved Distinction in MA Documentary by Practice. Prior to her debut feature film Susu, Yixi honed her vision and ability in filmmaking through a wide range of work experience in film and theatre.
She worked as a film editor and producer at WildAid UK, where she completed 20 episodes of high-profile documentaries. In 2007, she founded the first Chinese-language film festival Filming East Festival in the UK.
I’ve long admired the fortunes of independent film making in 1960s and 70s Britain, keen psychological observations, complex characters and smart storylines with a poetic soul. For a long time now I’ve wanted to try to capture my own experience of living many miles away from home and knowing people from different places on film, which has turned out to be my first feature Susu.
The film recounts the story of two Chinese students who travel to a British countryside mansion for their weekend end job to transcribe some archive footage of Chinese Kunqu Opera. At the mansion, they discover the secrets of the English family. But they too have their own secrets.
I wanted to treat the subject of these two Chinese girls as something freshly beautiful，passionate, brave while with their hearts filled with doubts and weariness. They just began to attract greater world attention after they leave home, when doubt and loss of innocence affect them. Qi’an and Aimo exchanged glances full of meaning, trying to guess what it could be that was found everywhere and that they did not yet know of. I naturally thought of a country, who for the first time opens the door to the outside world, while in the world full of puzzles, how do we know good and evil?