To celebrate its 50th issue, Cinema Scope has compiled a list of fifty directors under 50 who represent “the future of cinema.” Much to the pride and delight of all those who champion Chinese voices in contemporary cinema, Cinema Scope has chosen to honor several significant Chinese filmmakers: Liu Jiayin, director of Oxhide and Oxhide II, Zhao Liang, director of Petition and Crime and Punishment, Pema Tseden the Tibetan director of Old Dog, Jia Zhangke, director of such films as Unknown Pleasures and The World, as well as the 2008 documentary Dong, and Wang Bing, director of Coal Money and Man With No Name.
Profiling Liu Jiayin, Andréa Picard praises Liu and the Oxhide series, musing “Who was this filmmaker who so maturely delineated the space of her imagination, carving a humanist monument from next to nothing?”
On these remarkable films that measuredly unfold an intimate world of family minutiae, Picard discusses Liu’s “carefully calibrated yet warmly sensual sound and image construction, a droll humanism, and, ultimately, a feisty hopefulness.”
Zhao Liang, called a “poet of justice” by reviewer Albert Serra, is described as an artist who “cannot simply describe social injustices, lies, abuses of power…because as an author he’s realized that “reality” itself is unjust and abusive. And it’s absurd to find a way to fight against it because reality has as much power as the “system” does in China.” Of the careful examination of power and artistry at play in Zhao’s Crime and Punishment and Petition, as well as his dedication to pulling back the layers of the grueling injustices of Chinese beaurocracy, Serra writes: “With any other topic he could have been involuntarily serving the propaganda of what he’s criticizing, but the issue of the absence of justice turns our hearts with so much power that this is impossible.”