“A real celebration of the nuance of identity. I loved it” – Hannah Maia, SHAFF judge.
Chinese Laundry, a Tala Lee-Turton Production, directed and choreographed by Patricia Zhou, is a short dance film about a British Chinese immigrant experience of trying to fit in. The film retells a story Tala hears from her Chinese family, second generation immigrants from Hong Kong who grew up in South Yorkshire, in a Barnsley takeaway shop.
The film is set in a dry cleaners, a business set up by Tala’s father when he was her age now, and frequently segues into an escapist dreamscape in the expansive vastness of the Peak District. This reflects the cyclical banality and frustration experienced from within the daily grind of the dry cleaners, contrasting with aspirations to feel freely Chinese and British and part of the richness that is the surrounding geography.
Chinese Laundry seeks to share its immigrant story as one of many in a fantastical visual celebration of multifaceted South Yorkshire life. It explores the act of listening to stories passed down through families so that we may carry past generations’ heritage with us.
Premiered on Girls in Film and screened at We Wonder Noir festival at Wentworth Woodhouse, the Showroom Cinema as part of South Yorkshire Film Hub’s Showroom Shorts and Sheffield Adventure Film Festival (SHAFF) and Berlin Short Film Festival between March 2022 and March 2023.
Creative producer – Tala Lee-Turton
Director and choreography – Patricia Zhou
DOP – Arthur Loveday
Dancer – Tala Lee-Turton
Editor – Patricia Zhou
Colourist – Sofie Borup
Stylist – Chelsey Clarke
Creative consultant – Rebecca Zhou, Jas Rewkiewicz
Production adviser – Sara Turton
Location scout – Helen Brown
Special thanks to RELOAD, We Wonder Noir, Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust, Rockingham House Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry, Angie McMahon, Tom Lee.