That common thread between her two films leads her to Dylan. Blond, handsome, and charismatic, he’s no one’s idea of a vagrant. He initially comes off as a Chris McCandless type, purposefully shunning the life plan that so many of his peers have set for themselves. Wang watches as he receives charity when he asks for it, and when he has charity thrust upon him by sympathetic strangers. In contrast to the more stereotypical homeless people that Wang gets in the frame, Dylan is made to seem like this is a life that’s working for him. The sociological sense of discovery gradually gives way to resentment towards him for choosing to live this way, when so many of his fellow homeless are plainly not given the benefit of the doubt by shopkeepers and tourists.
It’s around the time that Dylan’s being bought dinner at an oceanside bar that Wang shifts focus. Again, memories of Into the Wild crop up by reminding the viewer that Dylan’s ostensibly carefree life is connected to others. Wang meets with Dylan’s family in Utah, and even helps to convince Dylan to return home for a time while his dad gets remarried. The initial expectation of a Mormon teen getting as far away from a fundamentalist upbringing as possible is quickly thwarted. Though Dylan’s younger brother is put off by Dylan’s vulgar language, amusingly leaving the room to theatrically play the piano and drone out his brother’s curses, the house seems no more restrictive than any religious family. It becomes a mystery why Dylan is so resistant to not just this kind of lifestyle, but anything that resembles it.
The title of Wang’s film is in reference to one of Dylan’s poems, because of course he writes poetry. Despite how banal much of his poems are, and Wang indulges him too much in this area, Dylan does hit on something with I Am Another You. It’s a fitting headline because the ‘I’ and the ‘You’ could be so many different combinations of people met over the course of the film. It functions as a call to empathy and a bittersweet representation of parenthood and a push for humility and self-awareness, among several other possibilities. Wang packs a lot into a short film with a narrow scope. If she can do this much with a guy she met in a hostel, her upside is limitless. B