Shadow Days

By Renee Madcharo, March 18, 2021
A balance between beautiful imagery and question of enacted polices that the shroud nature's greatest gift

An Overview of Zhao Dayong's Second Feature Film

Opening the picture with a wider lens lets in a broader perspective on life through storytelling instead of a storyboard. Shadow Day’s is Zhao Dayong’s second feature film that addresses the inhuman practices that came from enforcing the single child policy in China.

 When telling this story the shots are predominantly a wide or medium composition as a means to show a detailed message without losing appreciation to the living and breathing community that exists around the characters lives. This practice is reinforced by the use of long shots to capture the surrounding community in the backdrop of the mainstage action and the director chose to do this to represent how the message of his films apply to everyone and not just the spotlight of the main characters. 

Shadow Day’s is shot on location in Zhiziluo in the mountains of the Yucatan Peninsula. Dayong first encountered this location when searching for sites for a narrative feature film in 2001 and decided to use it as the setting for his first feature film Ghost Town in 2005 (Nelson). 

The beauty of the area takes the stage as the opening shot of the mountains kicks off the film and it’s filtered lighting keeps the film grounded in a brutal realism. It shows how the beauty of an area is in contrast with turmoil of the people struggling with a policy that can rip apart a family. 

In 2014 this thought provoking film was screened at the Berlin Film Festival and Hong Kong International Film Festival in 2014 as well as the Tokyo FILMeX where it received a Special mention. Such a predominant film now has made its way to FLEFF’s screening and will be available for your own personal viewing starting Monday March 29th (Shadow Days). 

Works Cited 

Dayong , Zhao, director. Shadow Days,

Kim, Nelson. “A Conversation with Zhao Dayong (GHOST TOWN).” Hammer to Nail, 17 Apr. 2012,…

“Shadow Days.” MUBI, 1 Jan. 1970,