My friend Victor was born on February 29th in a leap year, one month to the day before I was born. He ended his life when he was a leap year 6, and I was 24.
When the news reached me, for the first time I felt the inevitability of death. When you’re young, you think you will live forever. Growing up means losing that sense of invincibility—you realize how fleeting life truly is.
During my carefree youth, I watched many films in which dealing death is the epitome of cool. Cowboys, samurai, and gangsters kill and die with ease. In the movies, it’s cool to go out in a blaze of glory.
In the real world, things aren’t wrapped up quite so easily—death is never the end of the story, at least not for those who are still alive. Why do people choose to die? How do you go on when you are the one left behind? I have attempted to reckon with these questions through Sora.
Partly as a response to the life and work of Qiu Miaojin, a Taiwanese lesbian novelist who died by suicide at the age of 26, Sora is about a lesbian woman who has lost her love to suicide. By showing Maria Elena taking her grief and transforming it into positive action, I want to uplift and encourage people. No matter what hardships life throws your way, you can find a way to get through the pain—by moving forward, one step at a time. Choose life. Choose hope and resilience in the face of tragedy.
Wynton Marsalis once said: “Central to the Blues is what we call antagonistic cooperation. And this means that you identify what is wrong and you find within yourself the heroism to combat it. The Blues says, ‘I feel bad. I feel like I'm almost dead. But tomorrow is gonna come and I'm gonna get up off this bed.’ So it's always heroism, optimistic, it's always optimistic, but it recognizes sorrow.”
I believe we should look to the changing seasons. Every year, winter brings frost and death—and every year, it is followed by the bloom of spring and new beginnings. Life is full of pain, and yet life is full of beauty too. Let us see the beauty alongside the pain. This film is for all those who feel lost and in despair—to inspire them to persevere, with the aid of hope, beauty, and human connection.