LAB 2009-2010 > Gan Chao & Anna Maria Helgadóttir – One is the loneliest number

Gan Chao & Anna Maria Helgadóttir – One is the loneliest number

Gan Chao


Gan Chao has a BA in Chinese Literature from Fudan in Shanghai - one of China's oldest and most prestigious universities. In 2002 he got a Master in Television Studies at the University of Bristol in Britain. Subsequently, he has mainly made documentaries, including 'Last House Standing' from 2004 and 'Nobody's Child' from 2007. Gan Chaos latest film 'The Red Race’ (2008) explores the reality for budding gymnast children in China and their parents' expectations as the way to the entire family's happiness. The film has won international recognition, and Gan Chao has among other things received the International Documentary Trailblazer Award from MIPCOM in Cannes, the Best Documentary Award from Zagreb Film Festival and the Shanghai TV Festival. The best impression of the films' intensity you get from Gan Cao himself: “It dawned on me that I am a director with limitations, I can only shoot things and people I love.”

Anna Maria Helgadóttir


Anna Maria Helgadóttir is a self-taught artist and instructor. She has since 2001 been part of the wayward artist trio 'Ingen Frygt' (No Fear), who recently exhibited at Statens Museum for Kunst. Helgadóttir and Ingen Frygts universe is both down-to-earth and fantastic - pop and intense quest within self facets. Annamaria Helgadóttir directs unconventional music and art videos home and abroad. With Ingen Frygt Helgadóttir has received a Danish Music Award for the Malk de Kojn video 'Vi tager fuglen på dig'. Currently Helgadóttir is preparing exhibitions in Vienna and Helsingborg.


One is the loneliest number


When the two directors met for the first time, they decided to put their cultural differences aside and to focus on what they have in common: a deep feeling of loneliness. But what should have been the charting of an inner landscape instead became a photofit picture of the film's subject matter. Chao and Helgadóttir never met when both of them were first in Shanghai, and their joint project instead turned into an impressionist montage of pictures from a megacity, seen through the filter of a traveller's sensual melancholy - a state that is closer to 'lost in space' than 'Lost in Translation'. With Helgadóttir as the single (and at times invisible) protagonist in an urban setting of skyscrapers and fluorescent nights, the result is a piece of philosophical science fiction, which lingers on long after one has left the cinema.