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It's no longer a man's world...when it comes to film
A female filmmaker's perspective on a woman's experience is also a metaphor for never giving up.

Clever and tragedy are not commonly used to describe a work of art but these are the most appropriate adjectives to describe the film I Thought the World Had Come to an End.

The tragedy is a description of the events in the film rather than the technique used to create it. The film's creator, writer/director Rain Zheng has not shied away from being a vocal commentator on the female experience and this film displays that experience on a number of levels. What is so clever about the way it is presented is that the audience quickly makes an assumption about how the story will end and this is both justified and disproven by Zheng's clever "sleight of hand." Like a filmmaking prestidigitator, Rain allows us to presume the state of mind of the film's female protagonist (known simply as "her" and portrayed by Caitlynn Joy). What the director is so proficient at doing is allowing the viewer to fall into their own trap based on stereotypes and then flipping this idea on its own head.

I Thought the World Had Come to an End received the award for Best Experimental Short at the London Independent Film Awards (Jan 2018) and LA Shorts Awards (Jan 2018). While it can certainly be categorized as an experimental film, Rain refers to it as a narrative poetry about the objectification of women. The film very astutely comprehends how men see women in the aftermath of a relationship breakup as well as how women see themselves. The director takes full advantage of guiding each gender into the role that current day society tells us we should believe…and then takes delight in yanking the rug out from under us.

  The imposition of gender rules of conduct and acceptable behavior are becoming more challenged but are far from gone. Zheng easily related to the film's presentation (and astute misdirection) of these ideas as a result of her experiences as a young girl. She tells, "There are so many subliminal and understated guidelines for a woman. I grew up in China but some of these things are found all over the world: Avoid confrontation and always be polite no matter the situation. When you're in high school, you'd better have a boyfriend or people will talk, when you are preparing to finish college…you'd better find a husband…instead of being told to pursue your career and personal dreams. None of these things are bad to have in your life but there is so much emphasis placed on a woman that she will miss out if she waits too long. I've talked with friends of mine who grew up in different countries and they have the same experience."

To this end, Rain focused her dream and talents on making I Thought the World Had Come to an End a riveting film, a goal which was attained exceptionally. There used to be a time when women weren't considered as plausible actions stars; a time before Sigourney Weaver slayed a Xenomorph in Aliens, a time before Charlize Theron flipped a truck in Hancock for being called "crazy", a time when Cate Blanchett embodied power and grace as Galadriel in Lord of the Rings. Women continue to appear onscreen in powerful roles that reject old ideas of the waif in distress; female artists like Rain Zheng are using the experiences of the everyday woman to communicate the depth and power of the female experience. Relating the life experience they know in a way that everyone can find a sense of self is what great filmmakers like Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, and others so beloved for.  I Thought the World Had Come to an End follows this template in a 2010's way. At a time when so much of the conversation is about a woman's experience in society, this film gives insight into the despair of one person's state of mind.

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