Posts Tagged ‘beijing’

CinemaTalk: Conversation with Ying Liang at the Beijing Apple Store

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Director Ying Liang

Director Ying Liang was interviewed at the Apple Store Sanlitun Beijing, as part of the “Meet the Filmmakers” series, co-presented by the Apple Store in Beijing and dGenerate Films, an ongoing series to showcase China’s newest filmmakers powered by digital technology.

Ying Liang graduated from the Department of Directing at the Chongqing Film Academy and Beijing Normal University. He directed his first feature film,Taking Father Home (2005), which won awards at the Tokyo Filmex Film Festival, the Hong Kong International Film Festival, and the San Francisco International Film Festival. In 2006, Ying made The Other Half (2006), which is supported by the Hubert Bals Fund (HBF) from the International Film Festival Rotterdam. The film also won the Special Jury Prize at the Tokyo Filmex Film Festival.

The video of Ying’s interview is in three parts, with an English transcript following each video. Video of Part One is below. Click through to view both videos and the full transcript. Interview conducted by Gigi Zhang. Videography by Michael Cheng. English transcription and subtitles by Isabella Tianzi Cai.

Note: English subtitles for each video can be accessed by clicking on the CC button in the pop-up menu on the bottom right corner of the player. The subtitles can be repositioned anywhere on the screen by clicking on them (if they are not displaying properly, click them to adjust).


Zhao Liang’s Beijing Landscape Exhibition, now through December 7

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Poster for Beijing Landscape exhibition (click to englarge)

By Sara Beretta

In depicting the instability of China’s social environment, the work of Zhao Liang is a wake-up call to audiences. Zhao reflects his perspective through a range of visual approaches – photography, video and documentary – offering a valuable space for self-reflection and awareness. His gaze is elegant and artistic, gently detached yet sharply observant in picturing daily contradictions and human tragedies, offering a poetic reflection that shades into social criticism.

All of this makes his solo exhibition Beijing Landscape (Beijing Shanshui) a must-see event. Beijing Landscape, which runs from November 12 to December 7, is hosted at Studio-X, in partnership with Three Shadows Photography Center. Zhao’s 25-minute video Narrative Landscape, along with selected works from his previous Water Series (2004-2008) and Beijing Green Series (2004 – 2007) juxtapose tradition and modernity, both in nature and aesthetics, not transcending the commonplace but offering original and quiet introspection.

Zhao’s solo show also features his documentaries, starting with Crime and Punishment (2007, distributed by dGenerate). Conflicts between individuals, authority, state, society and environment flow throughout Zhao’s narrative. There’s also the masterpiece Petition, a 12-year project that intimately and dramatically shows the lives of petitioners in Beijing. Zhao’s committed approach immerses us in the petitioner’s plight, implying that anyone is potentially a victim of the dysfunctions of the social institutions governing China. As Zhao himself becomes an active participant in his own film, Petition demonstrates Judith Butler’s theory of how social reality is not a given but continually created as an illusion “through language, gesture, and all manner of symbolic social sign.” Zhao points out the oppressive contradictions governing China’s society, while depicting a humanist struggle whose pain is universally recogniziable.

Sara Beretta is an anthropologist and PhD student at Milan University, researching Chinese independent cinema and visual production.

Olympic Artist Ai Weiwei the Latest in China’s Long List of Evictees

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Artist Ai Weiwei (source: Archinect)

By Isabella Tianzi Cai

Chinese architect and artist Ai Weiwei, designer of the famous “Bird’s Nest” Olympic Stadium in Beijing, and whose current “Sunflower Seeds” exhibition is receiving critical acclaim in the Tate Modern Gallery in London, now faces the demolition of his Shanghai art studio demolished later this month. According to the Chinese government, Ai’s studio was erected illegally and had to be removed by law. But according to the artist, the building project was initiated by a high government official who came to him in 2008, soliciting his help in developing a new cultural district in Shanghai. The current accusation against Ai states that he does not have the proper paperwork for the building project, but two years ago before the project started, Ai was told that the paper works were all in place. The contradiction in the government’s statements arouses Ai’s suspicion that the demolition is a retaliatory act against his political activism in China’s human rights movement, which remains a hot-button issue with the Chinese government.


Zhou Hao Interviewed – Films screening at UCCA Beijing

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Using (dir. Zhou Hao)

Chris Hawke profiles documentary filmmaker Zhou Hao in the Global Times. In the past, Zhou’s probing work has screened on CCTV and other Chinese mainstream broadcast outlets, but his three most recent documentaries “on drug users, policemen, and a cadre accused of corruption” have been off-limits as of yet. Zhou maintains that his purpose in filmmaking is not politically motivated: “My films have no political purpose. I observe people, I don’t judge them.”

Zhou’s films Using, The Transition Period and Cop Shop screen this weekend at the UCCA Contemporary Art Center in Beijing.

Using is part of the dGenerate Films catalog.

MEET THE FILMMAKERS: Yang Jin at Apple Store Xidan Joy City, Beijing – November 2

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Film Director Yang Jin

dGenerate Films and the Apple Store in Beijing continue their ongoing series showcasing China’s newest filmmakers powered by digital technology. Next Tuesday, November 2, acclaimed digital filmmaker Yang Jin will show clips from his films and discuss his creative process.

Yang Jin’s talk is part of the series “Meet the Filmmakers,” a collaboration between the Apple Store in Beijing and dGenerate Films. Digital tools, from digital video cameras to editing software, have placed filmmaking in the hands of the people. This series introduces award-winning directors discuss with the general public how they use digital technology to create their latest movies, attracting worldwide attention and acclaim.

Read news coverage of the inaugural “Meet the Filmmakers” events, and watch video from previous Apple Store talks with filmmakers Cui Zi’en, Jian Yi and Peng Tao.

Corrected: This event will be held at the Apple Store in Xidan Joy City (NOT Sanlitun), Beijing, starting at 7pm.

Address: North Street, Xicheng District, Beijing Xidan Joy City. Phone: 131(8610) 6649-1400

Yang Jin was born in 1982 in Shanxi. In 2000, he enrolled in the Shanxi Film School’s photography program. In 2003, he enrolled in the College of Art And Communication at Beijing Normal University, where he majored in directing. He made a few of documentaries and some short feature films during his time there. Yang’s first film The Black and White Milk Cow (2004) won the Ecumenical Jury Award and FICC Jury/Don Quijote Prize of the International Federation of Film Societies at the 19th Fribourg International Film Festival. His second feature Er Dong screened at the Pusan, Rotterdam and Hong Kong Film Festivals.

Documentaries by Zhou Hao screening at UCCA Beijing

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Using (dir. Zhou Hao)

A former Xinhua News Agency and Southern Weekly photographer, Zhou Hao began making independent films in 2002. Among his perceptive and socially-conscious documentaries are Houjie Township (2003), about migrant workers in a Chinese export-processing zone; Senior Year (2005), about high school students preparing for the gaokao, college entrance exams; Using (2008), about a couple struggling with heroin addiction; The Transition Period (2009), about an outgoing county party secretary; and Cop Shop (2010), about a small police station next to the Guangzhou Railway Station. Zhou Hao’s films have been screened at film festivals in Amsterdam, Paris, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Yunnan, Chicago and other cities, as well as at the 2004 Shanghai Biennial and 2005 Guangzhou Triennial.

This weekend from October 29-31 the UCCA will present Zhou’s films Using, The Transition Period, and Cop Shop, with the director present to discuss his work.

Film Schedules
Friday, Oct.29
19:00 Using,104 min + director Q&A
Saturday, Oct.30
18:00 Cop Shop,67 min + director Q&A
Sunday, Oct.31
16:00-18:30 The Transition Period,114 min + Indie Film Forum Discussion
Moderator: Liu Shu (indie workshop)
Guests: Zhou Hao (director); Professor Cui Weiping (Beijing Film Academy)

Details can be found at the UCCA website.

Using is distributed in North America by dGenerate Films.

Karin Chien to speak at Movie Art China in Beijing

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

Karin Chien, President of dGenerate Films

Movie Art China at Sanlitun SOHO is the first event of its kind in China with thousands of original vintage China-related movie posters from around the world on show and available to buy. The event will look into the enduring appeal of China in the movies from both a Chinese and foreign perspective. As part of the event, Movie Art China will run a series of talks and screenings, presented by some of China’s leading film experts.

5:00pm, Sunday, October 24th:

The international market and audience for independent Chinese films in the US

Presented by Karin Chien, President & Founder, dGenerate Films (in English)

Full program details can be found at Time Out Beijing, sponsors of Movie Art China.

Lear nore about Movie Art China at their website.

Lineup for the Fifth Beijing Independent Film Festival

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

By Isabella Tianzi Cai

The 5th Beijing Film Festival is taking place from October 1 to 7 this year. It is organized by the Li Xianting Film Fund. The event will take place at Songzhuang Art Center in the outskirts of Beijing.

A full list of filmmakers and films screening in their respective categories follows after the break.

Defending Culture and Democracy in Chinese Independent Documentaries

Monday, August 30th, 2010

By Isabella Tianzi Cai

The latest issue of Hong Kong-based Open Magazine features three articles on citizens’ documentary in Chinese civil rights movements. One of them, written by Teng Biao, who is a human rights lawyer in Beijing, has been translated and published at See original.

In the article, Teng gives a comprehensive overview of the civic documentary movement in China for the past few decades. While the facts are impressive in both volume and numbers, the ideas aren’t all new to us. He writes,

Information monopoly is designed to benefit those in power, while Citizens Documentary can eliminate the cover-ups in certain extent. Only a few documentaries can already make the dictatorship pay a huge price. One can imagine that with the expansion of the Civic Documentary campaign, covering up truth will be a futile and obsolete attempt. Till then, there should be a significant change in the mode of power operation. (Interlocals)


Shelly on Film: Bumping against Boundaries in Chinese Film Culture

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Thomas Mao (dir. Zhu Wen)

By Shelly Kraicer

During a recent interview with an independent Chinese journalist, I was somewhat taken aback, but also quite amused by her rather pointed question to me: “In an online discussion of an article you wrote recently, some [anonymous] commenter was skeptical that Westerners could be so interested in debating Chinese movies and ideology, when in fact it has nothing to do with them. What do you think?”

What could I think? I remember reading the original comment the journalist was referring to, and noting at the time that the implied (and oft-heard) background to this attitude was something along the lines of “outsiders [like you] are fundamentally unequipped to comment on (write about / research about / review) our Chinese films (painting / dramas / novels), so just what do you think you are doing, anyway?

At the risk of answering one cultural judgment with another, I find this display of an aggressively protective attitude to Chinese culture to be distinctly Beijing-ese. Hong Kong, Taipei and Shanghai tend to be much more relaxed about foreigners in their midst, given their cosmopolitan histories. Their urban intellectual cultures more readily admit “other” voices — foreign voices, alternative points of view — with fewer hangups than Beijing’s thriving and otherwise open intellectual culture. Beijing has long been the capital of mainland Chinese independent film and avant-garde culture. No less than half of the dGenerate Films catalog are by Beijing-based filmmakers: Jia Zhangke, Liu Jiayin, and Cui Zi’en, to name a few. And yet, despite its openness to progressive artisitic activity, Beijing has an intensely policed view of the cultural “other” and the potential role of these “others” in its cultural discourse.

(Article continues after the break.)