Interview

Making Leaps

Amy Hawkins talks to Zhang Wei, director of China’s new award-winning trans film

In 2007, a young man name Liu Ting was awarded China’s highest honor for filial piety. Liu’s achievement had been to care for his ailing mother while he was a university student in Zhejiang, carrying her to and from hospital every day when his father left the family after a job loss.

Seven years later, Liu made the headlines again when he came out as transgender, and revealed he had been trying on his mother’s lipstick and clothes since he was a child. “If he was a nobody, it wouldn’t have been big news,” says the film director Zhang Wei via WeChat video call from his hotel room in Busan, South Korea, “but people were shocked.”