New York Times Profiles Chinese Indie Docs and Other Coverage of MoMA Doc Fortnight

Fortune Teller (dir. Xu Tong)

In the New York Times, Larry Rohter profiles the Chinese independent film movement, with special attention on the films screening at the Documentary Fortnight Festival at MoMA:

As a group they give a new and truer meaning to the phrase “independent film.” In a country where all movies must obtain official approval to be exhibited commercially, the five Chinese directors whose work will be featured beginning on Friday in the Museum of Modern Art’s Documentary Fortnight are forced to operate in a peculiar gray zone.

“You have to have an awful lot of energy and passion to make films with no funding and no prospect of having them seen in public in your home country except under the radar and off the grid,” said Sally Berger, the curator of the festival, who visited China last fall. “These are sophisticated, experimental filmmakers with a strong aesthetic sense, making films filled with a sense of urgency and change, even though they know they have a better chance of having their work seen abroad than at home.”

Director Xu Xin of Karamay weighs in on the importance of his work:

“I think my job is to supplement history, the official history,” he said. “Not many people are aware of the truth, of things that really happen, so to make a record for the future is the basic duty of a documentary filmmaker.”

Karamay will screen at Documentary Fortnight, along with three other documentaries distributed by dGenerate: Xu Tong’s Fortune Teller, Li Ning’s Tape, and Huang Weikai’s Disorder. Click here for full details and screening info.

In the Village Voice, Nicolas Rapold mentions Disorder: “Doc Fortnight is also your chance to catch the disaster-and-breakdown roundelay of Disorder‘s Brueghelian China: broken water mains, hogs on the loose, hit-and-run scams, abandoned tots, and bear-paw contraband busts.”

The New York Press interviews Documentary Fortnight curator Sally Berger on what she finds most interesting about this year’s selection, and in contemporary documentary at large.

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