Fantasia Fest: Baby, Don’t Cry interview with stars Zita Bai & Vas Provatakis and producers Qiyu Zhou and Zeron Zhao

Baby Don't Cry - Courtesy of Monday Pictures
Baby Don't Cry - Courtesy of Monday Pictures /
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baby don't cry
Baby, Don’t Cry – Courtesy of Monday Pictures /

1428: This question is for all of you: The relationship between Fox and Baby has this fascinating interplay of sex and violence. You guys were talking about exploring that from the female lens for a genre film. One thing I appreciate was that the sex was messy and awkward. In coming-of-age films, everyone seems to know exactly what they’re doing, so how did you balance that throughout the film without glorifying it?

Zita: Thank you so much for pointing out that in many coming-of-age movies, everyone, even though it’s their first time having sex, knows exactly what they’re doing. But the first time sucks, and you don’t know what you’re doing and it hurts. [Laughs] Plus, you know it comes down to being real and honest and not glorifying sex. It’s just a journey that all of us have to go through.

Vas: I personally think that the scene where Baby and Fox are intimate for the first time, it’s a great scene because it is very realistic, and I commend this production for having a lot of vulnerable and real moments. The first time you have sex, it’s not sexy, really. I feel the film did a good job handling those very vulnerable moments and showing what it’s like.

Qiyu: Yeah, definitely not a sexy sex scene. [Laughs]

Zita: The little moments that lead up to the final sex scene are crucial and important; even those moments are like, “I learned a little of this today, I learned this tomorrow.”

Zeron: Right, when we are dealing with stories and scripts, we were trying to push the story forward, and when emotions and everything around them get to that point, they want to express it by having sex, that’s something we discussed a long time, that this has to push the story forward.

Vas: Something I really appreciated about the film is that as the story continues, Baby is gaining more sureness about who she is, she’s gaining more confidence, and you can see that in how they interact sexually, too, because, by the end of the film, she knows what she wants more than him. There is that scene where she knows what she wants, and he’s sitting there like he is deflated and has no will. It’s an interesting transition that she goes through.

1428: She gains a lot of agency throughout the movie, and I appreciated that the sex scenes didn’t cater to the male gaze, which I’m guessing is something you guys were conscious of.

Zita: Thank you so much, yes.

1428: I’m curious too; instead of making a conventional coming-of-age romantic movie, why did you decide to go with that darker thriller edge?

Zita: Because that’s real. We all have fears. I think for fantasy movies, even horror films, all of that comes from how we really feel inside, and we craft that into the filmmaking.

Zeron: It becomes an element of our film throughout the storytelling and scriptwriting. This is something that we all need to think about in our real life; what is actually the point that makes her become herself?

1428: How did you let the mythology guide your performance in Baby, Don’t Cry?

Zita: I think that comes down to who I am because I’m bicultural I came here as a teenager the Chinese side is always in me I guess I just be myself, and I want to thank my creative partner Vas, because he gave me a lot of strength so I could be vulnerable and honest with him.

Vas: Same thing to Zita shes one of the most generous actors I’ve worked with, and a really good actor makes you feel like you can make choices and make mistakes and still be accepted and reassured that you can do a good job.

Zita: One thing into that is mythology and folklore are based on the human condition, and it all comes back to how we feel, and that is real.

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The interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Will you watch Baby, Don’t Cry at Fantasia or when it releases on digital? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.