Aël Théry, Marine Ottogalli
France〡2019〡Doc〡69min〡Color〡Mandarin, Shanghainese, Anhui dialect〡English Subtitle
✧ 2020 南方影展 最佳紀錄片獎
Ayi is 50 years old. She has witty eyes and long black hair falling down her back. She comes from Anhui, a rural area of Eastern China and doesn't have a “Hukou,” the residential permit that allows her to work and live legally in Shanghai. Yet, she has been cooking for 20 years in the streets, in an old Shanghai's neighborhood soon to be demolished. Indeed, local residents fight not to be evicted from their homes, but the landscape is more and more empty. Ayi, and the women around her, struggle to earn a living and more than all, to escape the “Chengguan,” the local police. The movie unveils the chaos of an ultra-modern city, aiming to wipe out so-called substandard practices and to deport an unwanted population, embodied by Ayi, an outspoken and strong woman.
After her studies in Chinese language and in restaurant and catering services, Aël Théry engaged in anthropology and graduated with a master's degree in EHESS. She pursues her scholarship with a thesis researching on contemporary Chinese society. Her interest in cuisines techniques' transfer of knowledge brought her to learn the cook's work first in Taiwan then in China. During her two-year fieldwork and life in Shanghai, she created urban trails through street food. This is where the movie Ayi originated. This documentary is her first movie.
After studies in cinematography, Marine developed her documentary gaze through anthropological studies in EHESS. In 2015, she autoproduced her first documentary, Sveinn-à-Mula, The Icelander who ran out of Petrol. As a director of photography, she works for various documentary projects, and is part of the struggle for the survival of the independant cinema theatre, La Clef, in Paris. In this movie Ayi, Marine shoots the daily struggles of a woman wondering about her future as a street-food cook.