Posts Tagged ‘berenice reynaud’

14 Chinese Indie Films in Spain, curated by Bérénice Reynaud

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

September 26-October 13

La Filmoteca de Catalunya reprises

14 titles from the San Sebastian International Film Festival Program

“Digital Shadows: Last Generation Chinese Film”

The San Sebastian cycle was curated by Bérénice Reynaud, Co-Curator, Film at REDCAT; the second program was curated in collaboration with the Filmoteca de Catalunya

For more information:

Jia Zhangke films Datong’s barren post-industrial landscape to portray the different ways a group of unsatisfied youngsters express their ‘disgruntlement’ with things around them: Bin Bin and his best friend, Xiao Ji drive their scooters aimlessly in a future with no hope. FIPRESCI Prize at the Singapore Festival.

September 26 and 27

LING YIBAN / THE OTHER HALF (2006), Ying Liang and Peng Shan
An efficient – and often humorous – mixture of documentary and fiction, told in fractured and punctuated mode with a series of fascinating illustrations filmed in the context of an industrial accident in the Sichuan city of Zigong. Winner of awards at the Tokyo, Jeonju and Singapore festivals.

September 28 and 29

MEISHI JIE / MEISHI STREET (2006), Ou Ning and Cao Fei
A powerful document on the havoc wreaked by the chaiqian (“demolition and relocation”) introduced by the government and companies hell-bent on revamping urban Beijing for the Olympic Games seen through the testimony of a restaurant-owner who refused to budge.

September 30, October 2

XUE CHAN / LITTLE MOTH (2007), Peng Tao
Debutant Peng Tao adapted Bai Tianguang’s novel Xue Chan, and spent weeks in the mountainous area of Hubei province selecting the cast of non-professional actors to depict the lives of professional beggars, deprived of the right to vote and occupying the lowest rung on the social ladder.


LA Times Feature on LA Chinese Cinema Series, special mention on Oxhide 2

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Oxhide II (dir. Liu Jiayin)

In the lead-up to the ten-film, five-venue series “Between Disorder and Unexpected Pleasures: New Chinese Cinema,” Reed Johnson in The Los Angeles Times gives a lengthy feature exploring the series and interviewing its co-curators, Cheng-Sim Lim and Berenice Reynaud.

The article introduces the series in the context of Chinese cinema history, following the Fifth and Sixth Generations of Chinese filmmakers. In contrast, the current wave of largely digital filmmaking is more numerous in quantity and diverse in approach:

“I call it this sort of flowering of many voices,” says Cheng-Sim Lim, a film scholar who co-curated “Between Disorder.” “You have this breaking up of this very unitary view of Chinese film.”

Reynaud offers additional context in the way of how these films are seen in China: “You have film clubs, cafes, you have also a number of websites where you can download independent video for free, [and] you have a lot of little film societies.”

The article touches on nearly every film in the series, but gives special attention to Liu Jiayin’s Oxhide II:

Among the most startlingly original movies is “Oxhide II,” a sequel by the young female director Liu Jiayin to her stunning, self-financed “Oxhide I” (2004), which she shot in Cinemascope in her parents’ 50-square-meter apartment/kitchen/workshop in southern Beijing, where the family scratches out a living by making purses. Casting her real-life parents as themselves and deploying a single, stationary camera, the writer-director combines carefully choreographed body movements and seemingly incidental but actually scripted dialogue in tightly framed shots, producing a claustrophobic and harrowing, yet disarmingly humorous narrative of a family’s inner tensions.

The banal rituals of daily life take on surprising significance as Liu reveals her skill as a miniaturist master and her deep empathy toward characters struggling to break free of physical and social confines. Reynaud compares the way the “Oxhide” films unfold to the method of spreading out and reading a classical Chinese scroll painting. “What they borrow from the scroll is the absence of a vanishing point, the absence of a master gaze and, very importantly, the use of negative space,” she says.

The series begins Wednesday, April 6. More information here.

Berenice Reynaud Spotlights Six Chinese Films at Vancouver

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Thomas Mao (dir. Zhu Wen)

Judging by the extensive coverage of Chinese films at the Vancouver International Film Festival, one can conclude that it is one of the key venues to see the best of Chinese cinema outside of China. We’ve already pointed to reports by VIFF Dragons and Tigers programmer Shelly Kraicer, Film Comment’s Robert Koehler and MUBI’s Daniel Kasman. In the latest issue of Senses of Cinema, Berenice Reynaud offers an in-depth take on half a dozen Chinese-language titles, among many other films reviewed from the festival. Some excerpts:

On Li Hongqi’s Winter Vacation: “Li alternates wordless, rigorously composed scenes with instances of sparse dialogue, a Beckett-like hollowing of everyday platitudes.”

On Zhu Wen’s Thomas Mao: “Another scintillating example of neo-Chinese wit.”

On Jia Zhangke’s I Wish I Knew: “Old Shanghai is disappearing in the wake of unprecedented urban destruction (a lot of it caused by the World Expo itself); I Wish I Knew captures it as a dream, a memory, a flow of cinematic images that are as fluid and immaterial as the two rivers that run through it.”

On Hao Jie’s Single Man: “Visceral, off-colour, generous to a fault, Hao Jie’s Guanggun (Single Man) is one of the most exciting filmmaking debuts in years.”

On Zhao Dayong’s The High Life: “Zhao plays with our narrative expectations, blurring the lines between fiction and self-representation.”

On Xu Tong’s Fortune Teller: “Following Li and Little Pearl on the back alleys and dusty roads of rural China, Xu – whose first film, Mai shou (Wheat Harvest, 2008) was the controversial portrait of a lower class prostitute leading a double life – casts an unsentimental gaze at these humble lives that the “new and harmonious society” would like to keep under the rug.”

Reynaud concludes of the latter three films:

During the Mao years, conformity was the norm. Now the powers-that-be want to transform the citizens into quiet, obedient consumers. Films such as Single Man, High Life or Fortune Teller outline the gap between these grand plans and the way people live, point out the heightened contradictions of modernisation. Whether they resort to fictionalisation or experimental techniques, they manage to capture something of this reality that Lacan perceived as left over between the symbolic (the laws) and the imaginary (the utopias of socialism or free market).

Read Reynaud’s complete festival report at Senses of Cinema.

Berenice Reynaud on 1428 – Screening at Los Angeles Film Festival

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

1428 (dir. Du Haibin)

The 2010 Los Angeles Film Festival will screen Du Haibin’s prize-winning documentary 1428 this Sunday and Monday at the Regal Cinemas at LA Live:

  • Sun. Jun 20, 1:45pm, Regal Cinemas #13
  • Mon. Jun 21, 8:00pm, Regal Cinemas #13

Tickets can be purchased at the Festival website.

In the current issue of the online magazine includes a lengthy appraisal by film scholar and Cal Arts professor Berenice Reynaud on 1428. It’s part of a much longer review of last fall’s Vancouver Film Festival. We’ve republished the passage concerning 1428 below:


The shadow of lost sons haunts Du Haibin’s 1428, an award-winning (Orizzonti Award in Venice) documentary on the aftermath of the Sichuan earthquake that killed tens of thousands of people, rendered millions homeless and turned the Beichuan area into piles of rubble. Echoing Du’s previous works (such as Tielu yanxian [Along the Railway, 2001] San [Umbrella, 2007]), it is shot in hybrid cinéma-vérité style, with his subjects freely addressing and interacting with him. “Some people thought I was working for television. They would spontaneously stand in front of the camera, to tell me that the Chinese people were lucky. When Chinese people talk about the Communist party leaders, I have no way of sorting out what is true and what is false… Some also told me that is was a system of corrupt bureaucrats, but they said so because they had been wronged.” We see an old lady staunchly defending the government on her way to collect an electric blanket, then switching to angry recriminations after it is refused to her. Other addresses are more intimate. While washing clothes in a brook, a woman describes how terribly she misses her dead children. A teenager looking for his missing brother asks Du “Are you filming this?” A butcher interjects: “You and I are from the same generation. You remember how terrible it was in 1979!”

Read more after the break.


Berenice Reynaud Reviews Four New Chinese Films

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

Queer China, 'Comrade China' (dir. Cui Zi'en)

The newest issue of the online film journal Senses of Cinema features lengthy reviews by film scholar and Cal Arts professor Berenice Reynaud on new films from Mainland China. Titled “Men Won’t Cry – Traces of a Repressive Past,” Reynaud covers a dozen international titles that screened at last fall’s Vancouver International Film Festival, giving special attention to four new films from the Mainland, as well as the Hong Kong feature Night and Fog by Ann Hui. Her analysis is particularly astute at discerning issues of identity, gender, power and nationhood in the formal approaches taken by each film. The following are some choice excerpts, though readers are advised to read Reynaud’s appreciations in full: