Yifan Du’s My Superman is an Ode to Parental Love

Yifan Du

How do people connect in today’s modern world? Though we connect on a superficial level through Social Media, texting, and other digital means, there is no real emotional tethering to these. To gain the kind of empathy that leads to a more benevolent world, Filmmaker Yifan Du creates movies. Though this might initially sound like a grandiose statement, consider her Award-Winning film Blue which brings the mental and emotional state of a suicidal young boy to an enlightening position. My Superman, Yifan’s latest production, tackles the effects of Alzheimer’s and the toll it takes on one family.  The writer/director reveals, “I didn’t want to make a film full of special effects that seems cool in the moment but which doesn’t imprint any lasting details. It’s more than just telling a good story to me. I want to provoke the audience to think and to reminisce about the people and events they’ve experienced in this film.” Already selected as a Semi-Finalist at the AltFF Alternative Film Festival, Peak City International Film Festival, and GISFF. 

My Superman_Yifan Du and Philip Chidel

  When a female college student (Lauren Arnold) arrives at the airport after studying abroad, she is troubled that her father (Brad Crooker of CW’s Golden Globe Winning Series Jane the Virgin) is not there to greet her. Upon reaching the family’s home, she finds an indifferent father more focused on his phone and misplaced keys than offering a warm embrace to his daughter. Argues ensue and it isn’t until she speaks with her father’s physician that the truth of his condition explains these actions. While the circumstances that create the events taking place in the story are saddening, this is a film about family love. Every scene of My Superman teeters on the precipice of overwhelming love and heartbreak; from the family photos which display previous years of closeness to a climactic scene in which the father leaves the house with his clothes while his daughter can only watch him disappear in the distance. Yifan notes that it was paramount to communicate, “Our parents will eventually leave us, growing old and unable to escape the effects of time. We must watch and yet are unable to change this. The only thing we can do is to care for them during their lifetime.” 

There is a deep connection throughout this film which undeniably manifests a sincerity in it. Actor Brad Crooker’s own mother has been effected by Alzheimer’s and Yifan Du was motivated to create this film as a tribute to her father whom she lost to cancer. Yifan relates, “I wanted to make this film in memory of my father, to show him that he was right in his decision to support my dream of becoming a director, both financially and morally. I am his pride. Seeing the film materialize in front of me on set, I was overwhelmed nearly to the point of tears.” That intense emotional core emanates profoundly from the parent/child relationship which this film displays. Through the choices Yifan has made in every aspect of its presentation as well as the performances of the actors, the pain of the distance created by the disease is palpable. There is a profound message delivered through My Superman. Yifan Du declares, “When my father was alive, there was nothing I could do to help him. After his death, I saw this film as a way to honor him and the close bond which we shared. I think many people feel regret after the death of a parent and through this film I wanted to remind them to cherish the love that they have with their parents.”

Writer: Coleman Haan

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