As a documentary film student newly arrived in America, director Nanfu Wang’s probing I Am Another You begins as she meets a charismatic, intentionally homeless 22-year-old named Dylan, a symbol of the quintessential notion of freedom Nanfu transplanted herself to find. After Dylan grandly announces “I’ll show you what freedom is like,” the filmmaker willingly takes on the homeless life with him for over a month, eating out of garbage cans, sleeping in parks, and eventually begging for money. Wisely, Nanfu narrates her own film, a choice which allows her perception of Dylan and his circumstance to at times supersede what is being shown on screen, and one which makes the more investigative and reflective elements of the documentary’s second and third sections more powerfully felt. After parting ways with Dylan, Nanfu reconnects with him and his family years later, setting up a far more multifaceted and affecting portrait of privilege and mental illness than the documentary’s early quixotic point of view would have you anticipate. I am Another You is messy in all the best ways, a truly fluid and open exploration piece that reflects the painful and mesmerizing complexities of life.
Published as part of BAMcinemaFest 2017 | Dispatch 1.