‘Keep Me At Bay’ shows how hard it is to overcome emotional trauma
We all have that one relationship that has affected how we connect with other people. Whether it was a bad parental relationship, an abusive friendship, or a messy romantic relationship that ended terribly, it leaves scars that take time to heal from. Director Jingyi Hu takes a close look at that process of overcoming those scars with Keep Me At Bay.
The short film focuses on Snow coming to terms with the damage left from a traumatic fight with her father from her past. Emotional stories are Hu’s thing, as she tries to make her work personal and stories that touch on our connections to one another.
Healing from trauma
Like we said above, Keep Me At Bay has Snow unintentionally reliving her past with her father. She’s kept loved ones at a distance her whole life because of the awful argument with her father years ago. The minute she lets someone get closer to her, they bring back the memories of her awful fight, and it’s up to Snow whether or not she’s ready to move past her trauma.
It’s a really emotionally raw film, as Snow is forced into facing her trauma thanks to a triggering incident. She has one of two options: stay silent and hide the pain, or finally open up and look to move past her situation. It’s far from an easy decision to make, and it’s interesting to watch how Snow handles it.
Being emotionally honest
That’s the style of filmmaking Hu really tries to tell. Jingyi Hu is an NYC based Chinese filmmaker with a passion for expressing emotions and thoughts through complex stories. As she states herself, “Many of my works are personal, but I’m always trying to find where we all connect on a universal level.”
Hu got her start in China, graduating from the Communication University of China with a degree in Theater, Film, and Television directing. She continued her education at the Maryland Institute College of Art with a masters degree in Filmmaking. Since then, she’s built herself a full filmography of projects in both China and the US.
Another big part of Hu’s filmmaking style is acknowledging her roots and what it took for her to get where she is. Speaking on the film, she said, “As a Chinese female filmmaker studying in the United States, I have been thinking about the differences and commonalities of culture between the two countries. I explore these influences from both cultures in my film Keep Me At Bay.”
Staying true to you and your beliefs
Not only does she explore the cultural similarities between her two countries, Hu also tries to demonstrate the agency of women. “As a film director I want to show the diversity of women, so that female characters are not just appearing to support male characters. Regardless of social roles, ages, or race, women are working tirelessly to define and exude their deeply felt agency.”
Snow is a strong emotionally complex character, trying to break free of her emotional crutch to finally be the person she wants to be. By writing and directing such a strong female lead, Hu is helping change the entire narrative of female film characters and helping add dimensions to the way people treat female characters.
We’re in love with the work Hu’s done with Keep Me at Bay, and we know whatever’s coming next for the director will leave us in awe as well.