Posts Tagged ‘1428’

“Urgent Problems” Facing the Three Gorges Dam

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

By Ariella Tai

Water being released from the Three Gorges Dam in central China's Hubei province. The state council has admitted the dam is creating a legacy of major environmental and social problems. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Last week, both The Guardian and The New York Times reported on a statement released by the Chinese government, and approved by prime minister Wen Jiabao, that acknowledged “urgent problems” facing the Three Gorges Dam project.

Started in 1992, the construction of the world’s biggest hydropower plant has necessitated the relocation of 1.4 million citizens and the destruction of over 1,000 towns and villages. Victims of the massive flooding include the cites of 1,000 year old Fengjie and 1,700 year old Gong Tan, the last months of which are chronicled in the landmark documentaries Before the Flood and Before the Flood II, directed by Li Yifan and Yan Yu.

Filmed in cinema-verite style, these documentaries do the work of recording the breathtaking natural beauty of these historic cities that will soon be wiped away. The filmmakers also document the struggles of the town’s residents as they are forced out of the homes that they have built and held for generations and asked to relocate to smaller residences where they face the possibilities of unemployment and deeper poverty. These citizens stand against government bureaucrats to protest their mistreatment and organize as a community to protect their homes, livelihood and history.


Ten Titles Now Available on Institutional DVD!

Monday, May 16th, 2011
We are pleased to announce the release of ten new titles on Institutional DVD, and the release of four titles on Home DVD. These titles include acclaimed festival films Ghost Town, 1428 and Disorder; probing environmental documentaries Before the Flood 1, Before the Flood 2 and Timber Gang (Last Lumberjacks), works by acclaimed social chronicler Shu Haolun, and landmark works by Hu Jie, one of China’s most important historical filmmakers.
A full list with descriptions can be found below; further details can be found on our online catalog. Buy them on Amazon or contact us directly.

Ghost Town (Fei Cheng)
directed by Zhao Dayong
Tucked away in a rugged corner of Southwest China, a village is haunted by traces of China’s cultural past while its residents piece together a day-by-day existence.

Disorder (Xianshi Shi Guoqu de Weilai)
directed by Huang Weikai
This one-of-a-kind news documentary captures, with remarkable freedom, the anarchy, violence, and seething anxiety animating China’s major cities today.

directed by Du Haibin

This award-winning documentary of the earthquake that devastated China’s Sichuan province in 2008 explores how victims, citizens and government respond to a national tragedy.

Before the Flood 1 (Yan Mo)

directed by Li Yifan and Yan Yu
A landmark documentary following the residents of the historic city of Fengjie as they clash with officials forcing them to evacuate their homes to make way for the world’s largest dam.

Before the Flood 2 – Yong Tan (Yan Mo II- Gong Tan)
directed by Yan Yu
Yan Yu follows his groundbreaking documentary Before the Flood with this profile of the residents of Gongtan, a 1700-year-old village soon to be demolished by a hydroelectric dam project.

Timber Gang (aka Last Lumberjacks) (Mu Bang)
directed by Yu Guagnyi
Yu Guangyi’s stunning debut explores a grueling winter amongst loggers in Northeast China as they employ traditional practices through one last, fateful expedition.

Nostalgia (Xiang Chou)
directed by Shu Haolun
Acclaimed filmmaker Shu Haolun explores the rich culture and history of his Shanghai neighborhood upon its impending destruction.

Struggle (Zheng Zha)
directed by Shu Haolun
This powerful documentary explores the cruel realities of sweatshop labor and workplace injury in China, and one lawyer’s mission to defend worker’s rights.

Searching for Lin Zhao’s Soul (Xun Zhao Lin Zhao De Ling Hun)
directed by Hu Jie
This landmark documentary reveals the tragic life of a gifted young woman who was executed for speaking out during the height of Chairman Mao’s rule.

Though I Am Gone
directed by Hu Jie
The tragic story of a teacher beaten to death by her students during the Cultural Revolution.

AAS Honolulu Alert: Free dGenerate Screenings of 1428 and Though I Am Gone

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Though I Am Gone (dir. Hu Jie)

If you are attending the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) joint conference with the International Convention of Asian Studies (ICAS) this week in Honolulu, Hawaii – or if you happen to be in Honolulu, you are cordially invited to free screenings of films distributed by dGenerate: 1428 by Du Haibin and Though I Am Gone by Hu Jie. These screenings are organized by the Asian Educational Media Service (AEMS), which has put together a more extensive program of screenings than in past years.

AAS-ICAS Film Expo 2011: Seeing Asia Eye To Eye will take place March 31-April 2, 2011 in the Hawaii Convention Center’s ‘Emalani Theater, Room 320. The screenings are free and open to the public. This program is supported by the Henry Luce Foundation.

dGenerate representative Sean Shodahl will be attending the Expo and will be on hand for both dGenerate screenings. You may reach him at skshodahl *at* gmail *dot* com if you would like an in-person consultation.

Directed by Du Haibin
2009. 60 mins. China.
Distributed by dGenerate Films;
Haibin Du’s award winning documentary of the earthquake that devastated Sichuan Province in 2008 as it explores how victims, citizens, and government respond to a national tragedy.
Thursday, March 31, 2011, 12:00pm

Though I Am Gone
Directed by Hu Jie
2007. 68 mins. China.
Distributed by dGenerate Films;
In 1966, the principal of an all-girls school, was beaten to death by her students. The incident, one of the first to ignite the cultural revolution, is documented here as told to the filmmaker by her husband, in this gripping film.
Saturday, April 2, 2011, 2:10pm

Visit AEMS for a full schedule of the screenings.

This Week’s Events: Chinese Cinema Club in New York, Karamay in San Francisco, and More

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Though I Am Gone (dir. Lin Zhao)


Three Times at the Chinese Cinema Club at MOCA

Friday, April 1st at 7 PM

Museum of Chinese in America
215 Centre St.
New York, NY 10013

4 out of 4 stars from Roger Ebert
Directed by Hou Hsaio Hsien, Three Times tells three separate stories of love between May and Chen, set in 1911, 1966, and 2005.

Tickets are $10/adult; $8/student & senior, and free for MOCA members. RSVP to or call 212.619.4785.

Karamay at Yerba Buena Center for the Art

Sunday, April 3 at 1 PM

Screening as part of the Series: Fearless: Chinese Independent Documentaries

701 Mission Street
San Francisco, California, 94103

an astonishing achievement on every level” – Robert Koehler of Variety
In 1994, a a community center fire broke out, killing over 300 children. This film is an investigation of a national tragedy long held in silence.

Tickets for the screening are $7 for general admission and $5 for seniors, students, and teachers. Gallery admission is included in ticket price. Tickets can be purchased online here.

Info on more events, including screenings in Honolulu and New Jersey, after the break.


The Dual Lens of Independent Media: Report From Reel China #4

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Mouthpiece (dir. Guo Xizhi)

This week we are spotlighting the Reel China Documentary Biennial, which held its Fifth edition last October with a showcase of nine recent documentaries produced by independent filmmakers in China. To commemorate the event, we are posting a handful of reports by attendees of the festival.

By Christopher Campbell

Guo Xizhi’s Mouthpiece is part of the recent “vérité” tradition in Chinese documentary that continues to be partly inspired by the work of American filmmaker Frederick Wiseman, known for his faux-objective “fly-on-the-wall” approach to his subject matter. However, the film’s major departure from the conventions of that detached, voyeuristic style with its seemingly invisible camera –and this appears to be true for many other observational documentaries in China right now – is in the way it includes so much acknowledgement of the camera and cameraman, breaking the “fourth wall” of what would otherwise be a strictly empirical perspective.

This actually benefits Mouthpiece thematically with regards to the documentary’s presentation of the confused and complicated concepts of the media. Constantly Guo’s camera is mistaken for or presumed to be part of or representing the news crew(s) he is documenting (they appear to employ the same kind of small DV cameras presumably used by Guo). But perhaps this is not so strange? What, after all, separates the artist’s lens from that of the television journalist’s? Very little, aesthetically. Yet, for a medium and movement that extends from and is able to work outside of the state-run propaganda machine, and which therefore tends to be thought of as a greater outlet for the independent voice, the documentary comes across as the true mouthpiece of the title.


Lives, Feelings, and Faith: Report From Reel China #3

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Disorder (dir. Huang Weikai)

This week we are spotlighting the Reel China Documentary Biennial, which held its Fifth edition last October with a showcase of nine recent documentaries produced by independent filmmakers in China. To commemorate the event, we are posting a handful of reports by attendees of the festival.

By Mirela David

Three documentaries made an impression on me at the 5th Reel China Documentary Biennial: Du Haibin’s 1428, Ji Dan’s Spiral Staircase of Harbin and Huang Weikai’s Disorder. I will compare the three movies, taking into consideration the following aspects: how they approach everyday life, public/private spheres, reality, censorship, themes and genre.

Du Haibin’s 1428 explores the quotidian hardships of the survivors of the Sichuan earthquake: from living in ruins, trying to cook with meager means, and waiting in line to get food from the government, to discussions dealing with compensation and living in temporary housing. Ji Dan’s Spiral Staircase of Harbin examines the inner struggles of two families, surrounding their children and their personal dramas. Scenes of everyday life abound in this documentary too: house chores, cooking, eating, going to the marketplace, bargaining, worrying over money. Huang Weikai’s Disorder, on the other hand, is not so much concerned with elements of everyday life as he is with unexpected, out of ordinary events that can take place, such as the malfunctioning of a hydrant that inundates an intersection, or the various naked people on a bridge interrupting traffic.


Accessing the Everyday: Report From Reel China #2

Monday, December 13th, 2010

1428 (dir. Du Haibin)

This week we are spotlighting the Reel China Documentary Biennial, which held its Fifth edition last October with a showcase of nine recent documentaries produced by independent filmmakers in China. To commemorate the event, we are posting a handful of reports by attendees of the festival. Be sure to read the first report previously published, “Absurdity, Art and Life on Tape” by Isabella Tianzi Cai.

Accessing the Everyday

By Carol Wang

How does one access the everyday? NYU’s Reel China Documentary Biennial offered an opportunity to consider this question through a selection of contemporary documentaries from independent Chinese filmmakers. The festival began with Du Haibin’s 1428, which documents the 2008 Sichuan earthquake in a cinéma-vérité style. Du, initially arriving on the scene in Beichuan ten days after the quake, captures the images and narratives of a region reduced to rubble. A woman talks about her lost children while doing laundry, a family searches through an empty but intact dormitory for a missing son, and men duck under a crane to grab steel rods from a building site. A young unkempt man, wearing just an ill-fitting winter army coat, ambles across the frame and gazes intently into the camera with a vacant look. There is a considerable amount of news footage available from the days and weeks immediately following the earthquake; much of it is urgent, fast-paced, and sensationalistic. 1428 offers something more understated: a slower tempo, a measure of patience which seems to demonstrate the filmmaker’s concern for his subjects. Despite the abnormalities that define the lives of these individuals, there is very little drama. Real time, when transposed onto the screen, sometimes appears excruciatingly slow.

Du returns six months later to continue filming. It’s winter now, but many are still living in makeshift tent shelters, and continue to rely on government handouts to meet their daily needs. Some, though, have attempted to make their own living – the butcher trucks slabs of meat to the lot where government distributions take place, and teenagers are hawking DVDs and photos of the Beichuan disaster zone to tourists. Du plays an unexpected role here: In response to a question from a tourist, “Is the DVD okay?,” the vendor responds, “Of course, this is the Disaster Zone. If it’s no good, you can bring it back. Look, the media is documenting this” [paraphrased] – and the vendor gestures at Du’s camera, the implication being that the camera is somehow representative of officialdom. Viewers are also implicated, because we too are watching a DVD about the disaster zone.


Pictures from the U.S. Tour of Du Haibin and 1428

Monday, November 1st, 2010

Du Haibin speaks at the YMCA Chinatown in San Francisco, event co-sponsored by the S.F. Asia Society

The two-week tour of Du Haibin and 1428 across the U.S. has finally concluded. We were able to collect a few photos along the way. We extend our deepest gratitude to all of the venues and sponsors that played host to Du Haibin and his award-winning film. Special thanks to New York University and Reel China for sponsoring Du Haibin’s first-ever visit to the U.S., which made all of his screenings and appearances possible.

Visit our events page for information on upcoming screenings.

dGenerate is already making arrangements for Chinese screenings and director appearances for the winter and spring. If you are interested in organizing an event, please contact us.

More photos from the tour after the break.


Final Week of Du Haibin 1428 Tour: Harvard, Yale, Chicago and SoCal!

Monday, October 18th, 2010

Du Haibin, director of 1428

Award-winning filmmaker Du Haibin continues his first ever visit to the U.S. this week. This past week saw screenings of his films at or near capacity at Stanford University, the San Francisco Chinatown YMCA (sponsored by the SF Asia Society), Reel China at NYU (main sponsors of Du Haibin’s trip), the Maysles Institute, and UnionDocs. Many thanks to all of our partners and sponsors for their work in organizing this tour.

The tour continues in the Northeast, Chicago and Southern California. Details below:


Harvard Film Archive
Emergent Visions Series
B04, Carpenter Center
24 Quincy Street
Cambridge MA 02138
Free and open to public
The screening will be followed by Q&A. Discussants include Eugene Wang, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Professor of Asian Art; Jie Li, Harvard College Fellow; and Ying Qian, PhD candidate at Harvard EALC.

7:00 PM
Yale University
Auditorium at Whitney Humanities Center
53 Wall Street
New Haven, CT
Director Du Haibin to attend

University of Chicago
5:30pm-7:30pm Screening
7:30pm-8:30pm Discussion and Q&A
Classics 21

California Institute of the Arts
Film Today Class
Bijou Auditorium
Presentation by Thom Andersen and Bérénice Reynaud
24700 McBean Parkway Valencia CA 91355
Director Du Haibin to attend

Rice University
Room 301, Sewell Hall
6100 Main St.
Houston, TX 77005

University of California, Santa Barbara
UCSB Multicultural Center
University Center room 1504
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-6050
(805) 893-8411
Director Du Haibin to attend

1428 Reviewed – Meet Director Du Haibin at Stanford, San Francisco and NYC This Week!

Monday, October 11th, 2010

1428 (dir. Du Haibin)

France Pepper gives Du Haibin’s 1428 a strong review for the Asian Educational Media Service:

Du’s down-to-earth lens leaves you practically feeling the dust of the earthquake in your lungs. He portrays the reality of daily life as early as ten days after the earthquake where people are salvaging pieces of metal with their bare hands from collapsed buildings and selling them to buy food….

This documentary is especially informative when studying contemporary Chinese society. We see, for example, how the government still plays a major role in shaping public attitude towards the communist party. At the same time, it takes a close-up look at the lives of ordinary people. This two-tiered perspective is emblematic of how many aspects of Chinese society play out in reality, not just during the aftermath of an earthquake, but in everyday life.

1428 continues its three week tour of the US, with director Du Haibin appearing at select locations. Special thanks to New York University and Reel China for sponsoring Du’s visit.

Here is this week’s schedule:

Stanford University, California
Pigott Hall
Main Quad, Building 260, Room 113
Director Du Haibin to attend

SF Asia Society
Chinatown YMCA
855 Sacramento St.
San Francisco CA 94108
(415) 576-9622

Cinema Studies Screening Room
721 Broadway, 6th floor
New York University, New York
Director Du Haibin to attend

This screening opens “Reel China, 5th Documentary Biennial at NYU”
Fri-Sunday: Oct 15-18
NYU Center for Religion and Media/Cinema Studies

Maysles Cinema
343 Lenox Ave
Ground Fl., New York, NY 10027
(212) 582-6050
Co-sponsored by Weatherhead East Asian Institute:

*screening Umbrella*
Union Docs
322 Union Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11206
(718) 395-7902
Master Class/Workshop led by Kevin Lee to follow
Director Du Haibin to attend

The tour continues next week at Harvard, Yale, Chicago, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. See the full tour schedule: