‘Dead Pigs’ Director Cathy Yan Reflects on Her Unfiltered Vision and Adjusting the Film After ‘Birds of Prey’ [Interview]
Posted on Friday, February 12th, 2021 by Jack Giroux
Dead Pigs is the kind of directorial debut that declares a new voice is on the scene. “Pure” is a word that comes up in our conversation with filmmaker Cathy Yan, whose first feature-length film is just that. It called to mind a Danny Boyle quote, that first movies often represent your best work because you never know if you’ll get another shot, so why not try everything you’ve dreamed of seeing in a movie?
Dead Pigs plays exactly like that – an unfiltered dream. It has a strange magic to it. There are the dead pigs; skyscraper’s bright lights contrasted with the streets and country life; a heroine (played by Vivian Wu) in a lone house dedicated to respecting the past and fighting the future; and both a singalong and a wonderful reference to the 2006 film Step Up. Yan’s debut is inspiringly brazen and bursting with life and personality. That personal style made Yan’s sophomore effort, Birds of Prey, one of the hipper comic book movies in recent years.
Yan’s debut caught the eye of Margot Robbie, who was impressed by the scope of the characters and world Yan captured. “You can’t pull off a film in China for as little money as she had, and make it look so incredible, and still care about the characters more than anything,” Robbie said. “She just — in my mind — nailed it.”
After years of limbo, Dead Pigs is finally available to stream on Mubi today. We spoke to Yan about revisiting her debut film years after she shot it and the joy of having a movie that shows who she is finally out in the world.