Posts Tagged ‘chinese cinema’

Global Times Profiles Indie Film Venue in China and Films by Huang Weikai

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

In the Global Times, Lance Crayon profiles the Indie Film Forum launched by the Ullens Center for Contempoary Art in Beijing, one of the rare venues for screening Chinese independent films in China. Most recently the UCCA hosted director Huang Weikai as he screened and discussed his work.


The outpouring of Chinese documentaries over the past decade has inspired and impressed audiences all over the world. However, the problem for audiences on the Chinese mainland is that accessing such films isn’t always easy.


On the Road: Post WTO New Chinese Cinema

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

By Tianqi Yu

Originally published on ArtinChina issue 3

Chinese version published on Contemporary Art and Investment, 2011 June issue

Republished with permission of the author

The International ConferenceNew Generation Chinese Cinema: Commodity of exchange” took place at King’s College London on 26th and 27th May 2011. It is regarded as the first international conference that focuses solely on contemporary Chinese cinema in the UK.

The conference focuses on how China’s market forces and new eco-political role on the global stage have impact on Chinese cinema from the year 2000 onwards. It aims to explore a diverse range of films, from commercial Chinese blockbusters to regional films; from popular genre waves to avant-garde art works; from ethnographic documentaries to amateur works that use digital filming techniques, to examine how these films are exchanged as commodities within the global and local film festival circuits and markets.


The Future of Chinese Filmmaking: Made in U.S.?

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

By Isabella Tianzi Cai

Sally Liu came from Beijing to get her MFA at Columbia University. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Back in 2005 when I started as a freshman studying film at Boston University, I was one of only two foreign-born Chinese film students there. I remember the surprised look that people often gave me when they learned about my major. At the time, it was rare to see a student from mainland China taking on film as her major, especially at the undergraduate level.

My reason for studying film was a straightforward one. I fell in love with the medium in high school, and I wanted to become a filmmaker. I could also intuit an impending bright future for Chinese cinema, given its vast unexploited market. In this sense I probably have much in common with the thousand or so Chinese film students in the U.S. today.

This is why Los Angeles Times reporter John Horn’s Oct. 2 article “Reel China: Land of Cinematic Opportunity” makes me feel excited about the path I chose. In the article, he describes the trend of U.S.-bound Chinese film students, the pull and push factors for this trend, the challenges faced by the students, their aspirations, and the reality that they face once they complete the programs. Each of these points reminds me of my own experiences and those of my friends’. I can’t help but wonder, if we are being identified as a group, how will we do collectively ten or fifteen years from now? And how do we prepare for the future?


Chinese Cinema Book released

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Press release:

Song Hwee Lim and Julian Ward are delighted to announce the publication of The Chinese Cinema Book. Commissioned by the British Film Institute, The Chinese Cinema Book provides a comprehensive companion to the cinemas of the PRC, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Chinese diaspora, from early cinema to the present day. With contributions from leading international scholars, the book is structured around five thematic sections: Territories, Trajectories, Historiographies; Early Cinema to 1949; The Forgotten Period: 1949≠80; The New Waves; and Stars, Auteurs and Genres.

This important collection addresses film production and exhibition and places Chinese cinema in its national and transnational contexts. Individual chapters addresses major film movements such as the Shanghai Cinema of the 1930s, Fifth Generation Chinese film-makers and the Hong Kong New Wave, as well key issues, stars and auteurs of Chinese cinema. The book will be an invaluable resource for students and scholars, as well as for anyone wanting to deepen their understanding of the cinemas of Greater China.

The Chinese Cinema Book Edited by Song Hwee Lim and Julian Ward
Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan 2011ISBN 9781844573448 for the paperback
and 9781844573455 for the hardback.

Table of Contents after the break.


Jia Zhangke Speaks Out Against Censorship

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Jia Zhangke speaks out at a forum held at the 2011 Shanghai International Film Festival (photo:

Originally published in The Guardian, June 16 2011

He had to abandon one film lest it broke anti-pornography laws. Then he ditched a spy movie rather than fill it with Communist party “superheroes”.

The frustration of making films in a country with “cultural over-cleanliness” has led an internationally acclaimed Chinese director to lash out at its censors, a state news site has reported.

Jia Zhangke won the Golden Lion at the Venice film festival in 2006 – apparently earning the approval of China’s leader-in-waiting Xi Jinping, who is expected to become president next year.

But he began his career as an “underground” film-maker – directing movies that were praised abroad but never saw official release in China– and he complained of ongoing battles with censors as he addressed a cultural forum in Shanghai. Unusually, his remarks were reported by an official news site,

“The only reason that we cannot make genre movies is the barrier that censorship sets,” Jia said.


Sundance Institute Holds Film Forward Program in China

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

By Isabella Tianzi Cai

Advisors Cara Mertes and Lixin Fan listen to a filmmaker in a small group at CNEX/DFP workshops. (Photo: Meredith Lavitt)

From April 13 to 16, 2011, Sundance Institute held its Film Forward Program in China to showcase ten excellent independent films as part of its international outreach project to promote intercultural exchange. Film Forward was initiated by the Sundance Institute and the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, and organized in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The program coincided with the Sundance Institute – CNEX Documentary Film Workshop, in which eleven Chinese documentary project teams had the privilege to interact directly with the foreign talents and industry experts brought on by the collaboration.

CNEX is currently one of the world’s most active players in terms of bringing attention and assistance to Chinese documentary filmmaking. It is a non-governmental organization based in Beijing with staff members working in Taiwan and North America. Founded in 2006, it has grown consistently over the years and continued to help produce and promote Chinese documentary cinema internationally.

The responses to both the Film Forward Program and the workshop were incredibly enthused. Audiences and participants eagerly sought answers to their own questions about the films screened as well as about general filmmaking practices.


Video Essays on New Chinese Cinema – Screenings This Weekend at MOMI

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

By Kevin B. Lee

In conjunction with the screening series New Tales of Chinese Cinema screening this weekend at the Museum of the Moving Image, here are two video essays exploring films from the series, both published at Moving Image Source. The series includes Disorder by Huang Weikai and Oxhide II by Liu Jiayin, both distributed by dGenerate. Oxhide II screens Saturday, April 30 at 2pm. Disorder screens Saturday, April 30 at 5pm

Descriptions of each video can be found at the Moving Image Source, and after the break.

New Beginnings: Opening moments from contemporary Chinese cinema

Slow Food: David Bordwell on Oxhide II


New Hit Web Movie Marks Chinese Cinema’s Online Explosion

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

By Isabella Tianzi Cai

Wang Xiaoshuai (WANG Taili) and Xiao Dabao (XIAO Yang) in The Bright Eleven:Old Boys

One of the hottest web films in China right now is the 43-minute feature Old Boys, directed by 31-year-old TV commercial director XIAO Yang. It is part of an omnibus film, The Bright Eleven, sponsored by Shanghai General Motor’s Chevrolet Cruze and jointly presented by China Film Group and Youku, the largest video hosting service in China. In theory, online video platforms in China such as Youku allow millions of amateur videos, student films and other works to be seen. Since The Bright Eleven is made by a team of professional filmmakers and has its own marketing team, it has great advantages over the independently produced content found on Youku, especially in terms of reaching an audience.

As the statistics on Youku reveal, Old Boys has been watched over 31 million times since October 28, 2010. A news report dated December 17, 2010 by China Youthology also claims, “Among the films [that consist The Bright Eleven], ‘Old Boys was the most popular, with far more viewers than Zhang Yimou’s latest movie released around the same time.”


This Week’s Events: Multiple Showcases of Chinese Films in Oregon, San Francisco and Los Angeles

Monday, April 4th, 2011


1428 (dir. Du Haibin)

Disorder, 1428, Oxhide, and Oxhide II at the Cinema Pacific Film Festival in Eugene, Oregon

Part of the Cinema Pacific Film Festival. From the Cinema Pacific site:

“CINEMA PACIFIC is an annual film festival based at the University of Oregon in Eugene that is devoted to discovering and fostering the creativity of international films and new media from Pacific-bordering countries, including the U.S. Through onsite and online presentations, the festival connects stimulating artists and ideas with a diverse public, furthering our understanding of world cultures and contemporary issues.”

Tape and Ghost Town at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, California

Part of the series “Fearless: Chinese Independent Documentaries.” From the YBCA site:

“The most compelling, politically engaged documentary cinema in the world right now is coming from China. Totally under the radar, with low/no budgets and little/no hope of their work being shown in their own country, filmmakers are using inexpensive digital technology to tell stories that would never otherwise be told. This is not easy stuff – the films tend to be long, and often depict human rights abuses, stories of chaos and neglect, and of state-sanctioned deception. It is a deeply committed cinema, which expects no less from the viewer.”

Oxhide II and Disorder at REDCAT in Los Angeles, California

Part of the series “From Disorder to Unexpected Pleasures: New Chinese Cinema.” From the REDCAT site:

“In recent years, independent Chinese cinema has experienced a virtual explosion. Digital media have allowed filmmakers to be bolder, more daring and to explore hybrid forms of documentary and fiction, or mix found and live footage while playing with novel formal strategies. Independent Chinese cinema has also come of age. Reaching beyond nostalgia and social protest, it plumbs surprising corners of Chinese reality with humor that is at times light, dark, saucy, dry, raunchy or conceptual. Expect the unexpected.”

Information on individual screenings after the break. (more…)

Oxhide II and Disorder Featured in Los Angeles New Chinese Cinema Showcase, Starts April 6

Friday, March 25th, 2011

Thomas Mao (dir. Zhu Wen)

From the official press release:

“From Wednesday, April 6 to Saturday, April 9, REDCAT will present “Between Disorder and Unexpected Pleasures: Tales from the New Chinese Cinema.” In recent years, independent Chinese cinema has experienced a virtual explosion. Digital media have allowed filmmakers to be bolder, more daring and to explore hybrid forms of documentary and fiction, or mix found and live footage while playing with novel formal strategies. Independent Chinese cinema has also come of age. Reaching beyond nostalgia and social protest, it plumbs surprising corners of Chinese reality with humor that is at times light, dark, saucy, dry, raunchy or conceptual. Expect the unexpected.”

REDCAT is located at 631 West 2nd St., Los Angeles, CA 90012 – in downtown Los Angeles at the corner of 2nd and Hope Streets, inside the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex. Parking is available in the Walt Disney Concert Hall parking structure and in adjacent lots.

Tickets are $9 for the general public, $7 for students with valid ID. Tickets may be purchased by calling 213.237.2800, at, or in person at the REDCAT Box Office on the corner of 2nd and Hope Streets (30 minutes free parking with validation). Box Office Hours: Tue-Sat | noon–6 pm and two hours prior to curtain.

Note: The series features two of dGenerate’s films: Disorder by Huang Weikai and Oxhide II by Liu Jiayin. Liu Jiayin will present Oxhide II in person.

More details on each film in the series after the break.