Saturday, August 30, 2008

In Memory of Xie Yan...

Xie Yan(谢衍)is dead. He died of lung cancer two days ago in Shanghai. He was 59.

A movie director by training, but unfortunately he was mostly known as the eldest son of Xie Jin - a far more accomplished and famous film director from China's 4th generation.

I first met him 6 or 7 years ago at a bar in Hollywood. Honestly his name didn't ring a bell until a common friend "added" that his father was Xie Jin. From that chance meeting, I learned that he's a film director and that he lived in Los Angeles as well.

But we never became close friends. Although we both belonged to the small and close-knitted filmmaker community in Hollywood that was formed by Chinese mainlanders, we rarely came across each other in most occasions. Yet six degrees of separation, he had never seemed to drop sight from my network of people. I learned that he had had a fruitless love affair with a friend of mine. When I worked briefly at a post-production facility right after grad school, my boss told me that my predecessor was actually Xie Yan.

Naturally his death came as a shock as I've never heard that he had cancer. Yet to me, the more shocking discovery was his age. I've never thought he's 59. When I first met him, I thought he was in his late 30s at most. Now that I think of it, he would have already been over 50. He looked young, really young and I'm glad that I had this image of him and will most likely keep it forever.

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