In a sumptuous traditional Chinese hotel, an impressive wedding is about to take place. Mrs. Song has finally managed to find a good match for her daughter Zhen Zhen: the heir of the rich Zhang family.
Always keen to be on the cutting edge of… everything, Mrs. Song hires human-like androids to be part of the wedding party (courtesy of Mrs. Zhang’s wallet).
In the role of maid of honor, Mrs. Song hires a beta model: Ah-Hui, the newest gene- ration female android. Delighted by their new distraction, Mrs. Song, and later, Mrs. Zhang, blithely play around with Ah-hui’s settings, unaware of the changes happening within Ah-hui’s nascent mind.
Mechanical Souls’ story unfolds throughout the preparation and duration of the wedding at the hotel where the nuptials will take place, centering around 8 main characters. Those characters mix and meet, experiencing the same events but each with a different take on things, building up a common experience from their personal stories.
Mechanical Souls is set in a near-future society where human-like androids have become a part of everyday life. A marker of wealth, they are the ultimate human helper. Aside from that, not much has changed from today to our Mechanical Souls universe. Family dynamics, intergenerational rapports, societal pressures to partner up and marry, and overall questions on ethics remain key drivers in our storyworld. The reason for establishing Mechanical Souls in an alternative future was to displace the familiar, and in doing so, give the viewer enough space to think about the story’s core themes, which parallel our own current day issues. We use the androids in the story to hold a mirror up to our own human behaviour and bring attention to the excesses we are subject to when we think our actions don’t matter, or simply because we think we can get away with things.
The series is inspired by L. P. Lee’s short story “Reflections in a Mechanical Eye,” which is based in South Korea. As
L. P. Lee and Gaëlle Mourre delved deeper into the storyworld, they made the decision to transpose the narrative in a different setting, one that could reflect their own sensibilities as an international team. L. P. Lee has lived in Beijing and Gaëlle in Singapore, and joining forces with French producers and Taiwanese co-producers, the team determined the core themes of the story could be best expressed in Taiwan.
Gaëlle Mourre is a screenwriter, director and producer based in London. Having lived in Asia, the U.S. and Europe, Gaëlle brings her vast cultural experiences into the worlds that she creates in her films.
Her projects include Awakening (winner of “Best Drama” at NY International Short Film Festival), The Feast (“Best Production Design” at Underwire Film Festival), as well as a commercial for the Institut Français du Royaume-Uni starring Lambert Wilson.
Exploring ethical questions within surreal settings is a recurring theme that ties her stories together. To that end, she is currently developing the Mechanical Souls series, along with her upcoming feature film scripts.
Gaëlle trained as a director at the London Film School and holds an MA in Filmmaking and a BA in Art History and Spanish Literature. She is a classical 2D filmmaker as well as a VR director. Bilingual in French and English, she works in both languages and is always up for a new challenge, traveling internationally for projects.
RUNTIME 15-20 mins
LANGUAGE English, Mandarin
COUNTRY France, Taiwan
PRESENTED BY Digital Rise, Serendipity
PRODUCED BY Digital Rise, Serendipity
PRODUCERS FRANCOIS KLEIN, THOMAS VILLEPOUX, ESTELA VALDIVIESO CHEN, ADAM CULLEN YOUNG
Screenplay by L. P. LEE, GAËLLE MOURRE
Directed by GAËLLE MOURRE