The essay film “I Promise to Enter The Oversized Hat” was shot in August of 2020, at the peak of the pandemic: A gay friend was about to return to China, and the suspended future was as fuzzy as his gender. In any case, he decided to don a feather robe for the last dance in Manhattan. We say farewell to the lucky cat in a Chinatown meat shop, to the US police station that looks like Disneyland, and to the mannequins locked inside the Soho window like modern mermaids… In Ancient China, there is a myth about a fairy who has to dance for the fishermen because he took away the feather robe she needs to fly back home. But that is just a faded myth. In the real world, people live by phantom limbs. Whether it is one’s body, memory, political identity, or gender, everything can be left anywhere. Dualism is an eternal paradox, and a future full of uncertainty is like an oversized hat. However, the behemoth we feel scared of will after all attract us to step into it.
Directed by Jiaoyang Li (USA)