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European-Chinese Couples: AJ and Natalie

Intercultural couple: AJ from China and Natalie from England.

Intercultural couple: AJ from China and Natalie from England.

AJ is from Beijing and Natalie is from England. They met on the streets of Beijing and tell their tale of how their love has led them to start a new life together. This 7-minute film explores their unique relationship, discovering each other’s culture, learning to trust one another, and has a touching ending as Natalie meets AJ’s parents during Chinese New Year.

We shot this in mid-January, probably the coldest period of Beijing. They actually live in Sweden now, and were visiting for Chinese New Year. Because of the style of documentary, we were really not sure what we’d be getting going into AJ’s parents home and I had no idea what their response would be to the questions I had AJ ask them. But I think their response speaks for itself.

All relationships must have compromises. When shooting, Natalie told me that it was quite like going through a big introspection; having to talk about all aspects of their relationship. Theirs is one with visa difficulties; Natalie is British but AJ can’t get a visa for England. Natalie would like to live in China, but AJ is quite reluctant to go back after living abroad for so long. So Sweden became a

sort of in-between for them. Either way, “where to live” is a common difficulty for intercultural relationships – but extended communication is one way they are able to find a solution.

One thing that is not in the film, but that we see a lot on the street, is that at the beginning AJ would always want to carry Natalie’s bag. AJ said, “It doesn’t matter if you are my girlfriend or my friend, I’ll say, ‘let me help you.’ She would say, “No, it’s my things, I can do it myself.’” AJ knows that Natalie’s culture makes her more independent than the Chinese girls he dated before. Natalie saw this as AJ being quite controlling in their relationship, but after some time she saw that this style was AJ’s way of caring and loving her. So now, if her bag is heavy, she’s quite happy to let AJ show his love.

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Intercultural couple: AJ from China and Natalie from England.

This is part of a series of short documentary films about real-life European-Chinese couples conceived and produced for the Delegation of the European Union to China. View the other featured short films below:

Written by Jason Lee Wong

Jason Lee Wong is an American born Chinese filmmaker from California. He has works for ten years as a cinematographer in feature films, documentary, television, and commercials. EU-China Love Links is his directorial debut.

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