Dark Matter played
at the Sundance Film Festival last year and now it’s getting released
into theaters on April 11th. Starring Meryl Streep and Aidan Quinn, the
film tells the true story of Liu Xing, a Chinese science student who
came to study in the US in the early 90s and found the stresses of
academic life too much… until he finally snapped (you can read the
full synopsis after the clip).
We’re happy to present you with this exclusive clip, where Liu Xing tries to fit in at a local coffee shop.
The feature film debut of renowned opera
and theater director Chen Shi-Zheng, “Dark Matter” delves into the
world of Liu Xing (Chinese for “Shooting Star”), a Chinese science
student pursuing a Ph.D. in the United States in the early 1990s.
Driven by ambition, yet unable to navigate academic politics, Liu Xing
is inexorably pushed to the margins of American life, until he loses
Liu Xing (Liu Ye) arrives at a big Western university with plans to
study the origins of the universe. At first, his experience is a heady
rush of expectation and optimism. He finds other Chinese students to
share a cheap apartment with him, and flirts with an attractive
American girl who works in a local tea shop. When the head of the
department, Jacob Reiser (Aidan Quinn), welcomes Liu Xing into his
select cosmology group, it seems that only hard work stands between him
and a bright future in American science. At an orientation for
foreigners sponsored by a local church, Joanna Silver (Meryl Streep), a
wealthy patron of the university, notices the earnest student. An
unspoken bond forms between them.
Liu Xing becomes Reiser’s protégé, accompanying him to a prestigious
conference where he makes an impressive debut. He is drawn to the study
of dark matter, an unseen substance that shapes the universe, but it
soon becomes clear that his developing theories threaten Reiser’s
conflicting theories and well-established studies. Excited by the
possibility of a breakthrough, Liu Xing is deaf to warnings that he
must first pay his dues. When he is eclipsed within the department by
Laurence, a more dutiful Chinese student, Liu Xing is forced to go
behind Reiser’s back to publish his discoveries. When the article draws
ire instead of accolades, he turns to Joanna, who naively encourages
him on his collision course.
Liu Xing clings to the idea of American science as a free market of
ideas, and American society as wide open to immigrants. But in the end,
his dissertation is rejected, and the girl in the tea shop brushes him
off. His roommates find jobs, leaving him behind. Too proud to accept
help from Joanna, and unwilling to return home to his parents, Liu Xing
becomes a ghost-like presence at the university. Left alone with his
shattered dreams, he explodes in a final act of violence.