It’s a sad fact proven time and time again that “we” consider ourselves different from “them.” The truth is that we are all connected and only in recognizing the challenges of others can we evolve. Filmmaker Beidi Wang led a crew comprised almost entirely of female collaborators in making Wax and Wane. An official selection of prestigious festivals across the U.S. including the LA Shorts International Film Festival, New York Asian Film Festival, SCAD Savannah Film Festival, and others, Wax and Wane spotlights the legal rolling back of female body autonomy presently taking place in America by drawing a direct line with the same occurrence in communist China. Taking inspiration from her family’s own experiences, Beidi presents the experiences of an immigrant mother who faces a life in which her decisions about her body are in the hands of the other rather than the individual. The impact is powerful more than any time in the last century for Americans who must consider whether they are so different from Chinese policies in the 80s.
In addition to writing, producing, and directing Wax and Wane, Beidi Wang joins the film’s small but astounding cast (as Laura Yang) which includes Loren Fenton (of Outlander – Winner of Best Foreign TV Series at the Shanghai International TV Festival), Mardy Ma (as Wu Sui),
Harley Haibin Li as Mr. Yang (of the film Black Key-Winner of Berlin Independent Film Festival, DE). Through the experiences of Wu Sui, the audience feels the weight of life on this young immigrant mother, as well as her immense strength. Twenty years prior to the events of Wax and Wane, China’s One Child Policy mandated Wu Sui to have a birth control ring implanted. The expiration of this ring now requires emergency surgery, one which Wu Sui keeps secret from her family. The isolation is oppressive at a time in her life when most people would rely heavily on their loved ones for strength. The manner in which Beidi communicates the environment and the experience is masterful in this film. As Wu Sui lies on the operating table with her legs open during the procedure, the surgeons discuss where they will go to celebrate a birthday. Their callousness points out how society, any society, can be numb to the suffering of women. In stark contrast, Wu Sui asks the cashier for a refund for her surgery after the procedure. In this moment we see that she will do what she and her family needs but will not be pushed around by others. Similarly, we see Wu Sui arguing with a fellow patron at a seafood market in yet another sign of her strength and determination.
An artist’s voice and experiences empower them to create. When done at the highest level, this can inspire and inform others both factually and emotionally. As someone who has experienced life with her family in both China and the United States, Beidi Wang’s awareness of similarities is highly tuned. She remarks, “Roe v. Wade had been a pressing case for so long, concerning each woman’s reproductive and legal rights. It was another form of extremist mandate compared to the birth control ring issue. Since I have lived in both countries for so many years, I could only say that ridicules are different yet all the same. To sympathize with young women who might suffer from that dilemma is the last thing I want to experience. When the case was overturned, I immediately recognized that defending women’s body autonomy, and their freedom to give birth or have abortions, is a universal agenda, regardless of nationality, skin color, or personal beliefs.” Standing on the red carpet with female crewmembers from China, Korea, Hungary, Canada, Cambodia, and elsewhere, Beidi Wang’s presence and statement powerfully proclaimed that Wax and Wane delivers a personal message of truth. To be a great communicator is not enough, the achievement of greatness requires authenticity; a characteristic profoundly evident in Wax and Wane.