Wei Li knows that an editor who can elicit emotion in a powerful way is worth their weight in gold to any production. Wei has proven this with his work on vastly diverse styles and genres of storytelling ranging from award-winning films like 26 seconds (International Independent Film Awards, numerous others) to international hit series (Inside the Wheel of Time-the After-show for the megahit Amazon Prime series), and beyond. The art of being a consummate editor exceeds talent and skill to also include vision and an inherent astute nature. Often finding a solution to the problems that inevitably arise on nearly any production is what makes an editor such as Mr. Li so remarkable and valuable. His most recent work on the soon to be released Youth Crossing the Breeze continues this pattern of excellence. The film will first be seen by the film going audiences in China but is set to be released in the United States soon after, an indication of the continually expanding international market and attention being received by filmmakers from abroad by the American film community.
Youth Crossing the Breeze is a film which speaks directly to life’s aspirations, responsibilities, and regrets. While most certainly sobering at times, the story ultimately communicates that there is a connectivity that allows us all to choose the best version of ourselves. In the film, Fu Huaicun is an elderly man suffering from Alzheimer’s. Though actually in his 70’s, he believes himself to be in his 20’s and is pursuing the acting aspirations he had as a young man. Two people aid him in this endeavor but as the film unwinds, we learn that there is more to these men than there initially seemed. Through the film’s directing, acting, and editing, this same environment of uncertain reality is manifested for the audience to experience at times. During the scene in which Huaicun cooks in order to impress the leader of a theater company to sway his opinion on an audition, it’s the editing which constructs the confusion of this aged man about how to actually cook the meal. Wei’s melding of different footage together manifest scenes like the one near the end of the film after Huaicun’s magnificent acting performance when he passes out and is taken to the hospital. Always looking for the means to make the story better requires vigilance. Mr. Li imparts, “There’s a scene in the village where Huaicun has gotten sick and is sleeping in bed. He can faintly hear his friends arguing and understands that they are talking about him. This scene is totally different from the original script. Previously there were different unrelated scenes but when I was editing, I was thinking that if I cut these two scenes separately they’d likely be too boring and uninformative. Then I attempted to cut them together and magic happened. The result was the creation of another emotion which shows Huaicun starting to doubt himself in addition to making the audience curious.” One of the most powerful displays of Wei’s contributions to the story is the final scene in which the truth about his life is revealed to Huaicun as we see a back-and-forth of him as a young man and his later aged self.”
Often in the creation of a film, not all of the footage that the director desires is able to be captured. When this occurs, an editor like Wei Li is the savior of the production. He confirms, “I’m always the one who wants to make everyone feel assured. I look through all the footage and let the director know they can count on me. During the editing of Youth Crossing the Breeze, the director gave me enough room to let me use my talent and come up with ideas to make this film better. I always treat my first cut like a final cut, so the director can see it thoroughly fleshed out with temporary sound effects and music. I want a first cut to already be in a very advanced state. When a situation like this occurs, one in which certain scenes were not obtained, I have to figure out the connection between each scene. I was so proud of that I finished all of these scenes for this film and made it impressive.”