Posts Tagged ‘disorder’

Online Videos and Communities Confront Social Disorder in China

Monday, October 31st, 2011

By Maya E. Rudolph

"Disorder" compiles numerous videos capturing social disharmony in China


In an age where surveillance videos serve as a kind of documentary and internet gossip supercedes mainstream news cycles, the idea of tragedy is spun into a new place and time.

Several weeks ago, a surveillance camera in Foshan’s Guangfo Hardware Market captured an incident wherein a small van ran over a two-year-old child left roaming alone in the market. The footage, now viewed by millions on youku and other video-sharing sites, has incited a national uproar and, for many Chinese, something of an identity crisis. The video not only graphically documents the gruesome hit and run, but the footage also reveals the apparent apathy of numerous passersby subsequently ignoring the injured child on the ground. After being hit, two-year-old Yue Yue lay as the passed-over object of little pause by eighteen workers, shoppers, a mother and child, and an additional truck that crushed her feet. Not until a trash-collecting ayi encountered the child was help sought and Yue Yue rushed to a local hospital, where her condition is unknown.

The video’s stark presentation of the hit and run and ensuing parade of indifference is shocking to behold and has now inspired outrage and questioning – of both social responsibility and of an existential, moral depth – on the part of Chinese netizens and beyond. On one hand, the hit and run has unleashed a debate on the ethical fabric of Chinese society, a kind of national “soul-searching” that begs at the emotional “numbing” of Chinese citizens. But the practical concerns of involving oneself in such a loaded situation have also surfaced in defense of the passersby. The threat of court corruption, false accusations, and complicated legal procedures may have deterred those who declined to help the child. In a recent article for The Guardian, Tania Branigan cites a netizen who admitted he’d not have offered assistance if given the opportunity, his pragmatism outweighing popular reactions of pathos and horror:

“Would you be willing to throw your entire family’s savings into the endless whirlpool of accident compensation? Aren’t you afraid of being put into jail as the perpetrator? Have you ever considered that your whole family could lose happiness only because you wanted to be a great soul?’” he wrote.

In the film Disorder, Huang Weikai’s 2009 digital documentary collage, the action splices in and out of crime and punishment, malaise and passion in contemporary Guangzhou. (more…)

PBS “POV” Lists Essential Documentaries About China

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Disorder (dir. Huang Weikai) tied for most mentions in PBS' poll of essential documentaries about China

Last month the acclaimed documentary Last Train Home, about migrant laborers in China, made its US television premiere as part of the POV series on PBS. As part of the film’s online promotional efforts, POV polled several filmmakers and experts in Chinese cinema to recommend top documentaries and features about China. We were pleased to see that Disorder tied for most mentions among all films, including a recommendation by Last Train Home director Fan Lixin. Fan writes of Disorder: “A powerful and utterly honest mishmash of the most bizarre images from contemporary Chinese society, with an almost cynical sarcasm. I’ve never seen anything quite like it!”

Other documentaries receiving multiple recommendations: Petition by Zhao Liang, whose Crime and Punishment is distributed by dGenerate, and Up the Yangtze by Yung Chang (who also took part in the poll). Strangely, Blind Shaft also tied for most mentions in this “documentary” poll, even though it is a narrative feature.

Not surprisingly, Jia Zhangke was the most recommended filmmaker, with six mentions spread across five titles. His documentary Dong is distributed by dGenerate.

All the recommendations can be found at the POV website on PBS.

11 Chinese Independent Films Screening this Fall in Chicago – Starts Monday

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Oxhide II (dir. Liu Jiayin)

This will be the largest series of Chinese cinema in Chicago this year. The series is listed online at: http://docfilms.uchicago.edu/dev/calendar/2011/fall/monday.shtml (note that the opening night screening is not listed).

A Selection of Chinese Independent Cinema

Mondays, September 26 – November 28, 2011
Doc Films, University of Chicago
Max Palevsky Cinema in Ida Noyes Hall
The University of Chicago
1212 East 59th Street, Chicago, IL

Tickets $5, free with DocFilms season pass ($30)

Few national cinemas are as vibrant as that of contemporary China. Similarly, there are few places in the world today where art and media practice share such an important role in addressing national memory and societal issues. For these and other reasons, some of the most important work being made in China today is made by independent artists, with techniques that challenge the conventions and boundaries of both documentary and fiction film.

dGenerate Films (http://dgeneratefilms.com) stands as an important cultural pipeline, distributing independent cinema from mainland China within North America and Europe. This program intends to offer a sampling of the dGenerate catalogue, which contains many of the most important films produced in China within the last decade. These films reflect Chinese independent cinema in its broad diversity, social urgency, and creative innovation.

Full schedule after the break. (more…)

Disorder discussed at Museum of Chinese in America

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

By Isabella Tianzi Cai

Chi-hui Yang (right) and Kevin Lee discuss Disorder with audience at Museum of Chinese in America

Director Huang Weikai’s short film Disorder played in the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) in New York City Chinatown last Friday evening, on August 12, 2011. It attracted students and people from the general public alike, who took an interest in contemporary Chinese documentaries. New York-based Chinese-language news source World Journal, the largest of its kind in North America, reported this event in an August 13, 2011 article.

World Journal reporter Du Yizhen writes in the article,”audience members were greatly amused by the scene where pigs loiter around on the Chinese highway.” The black humor of the film enabled western audiences to understand intuitively what is happening in China.

Chi-hui Yang, film scholar and former programmer of the San Francisco Asian American International Film Festival, and dGenerate Films Vice President Kevin Lee stayed with the audience after the film for a discussion. Yang examined how Disorder effectively exposes the problems brought about by China’s rapid economic development, and it depicts a myriad distortions resulted in ordinary people’s characters and dispositions. (more…)

Chicago Critics Crazy over Disorder; Screening at MoCA NYC This Friday

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

From Chicago to New York City, "Disorder" has film critics dancing in the streets.

This Friday at 7pm, Huang Weikai’s cinematic hurricane Disorder storms back into New York City, screening at the Museum of Chinese in the Americas in Chinatown as part of MoCA’s Chinese Cinema Club. Film programmer, lecturer and writer Chi-hui Yang will be on hand to discuss the film following the screening, with dGenerate’s Kevin B. Lee moderating.

Earlier in the summer, the film screened at the Nightingale in Chicago riding a wave of strong reviews from area critics. Here’s a sampling:

Ray Pride, New City:

Of the 300 or so movies I saw in 2010, partly on the weekly beat but also at festivals and for juries, one entry’s sheer strangeness and immediacy took me more by surprise than any other film or video. The movie’s even more headlong than this paragraph, hyperbole for the hypnotic: Huang Weikai’s fifty-eight-minute “Disorder,” is a black-and-white shot-on-video portrait of urban Guangzhou, but it’s also a sustained fury of delirium. Tossed into a maelstrom of deracinated images from Huang’s native province, we’re left adrift and agog at brief scenes of traffic jams, floods, accidents, police violence, fools winding through lanes of heavy traffic, and so many, many farm animals gone astray. Hot Docs programmer Sean Farnel went beyond considering “Disorder” a “city symphony,” saying it’s set in “Chris Marker-ville,” and Huang’s film is indeed an act of sustained bricolage, essaying contemporary China through a reported 1,000 hours of footage from news shooters with greater-than-average access to strange goings-on, creating an eruptive, hallucinatory landscape, resisting narrative, that is both tactile and otherworldly. It may be the first great film of the twenty-second century.

(more…)

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.

1428
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.

CinemaTalk: Interview with Huang Weikai, Director of Disorder

Monday, May 16th, 2011

"Disorder" director Huang Weikai

"Disorder" director Huang Weikai

Disorder, a bold documentary by Huang Weikai, has been steadily garnering recognition over the past year, screening at multiple venues across America. It’s been mentioned as one of the best films of 2010 by Moving Image Source and Film Comment magazine, and recently won Best Documentary at the Ann Arbor Film Festival. Seeing it at the Reel China Film Festival in NYU, Hua Hsu of The Atlantic called it “one of the most mesmerizing films I’ve seen in ages.”

Disorder screens this Friday in Chicago at The Nightingale as part of the White Light Cinema series, and Saturday and Sunday at Anthology Film Archives in New York City. Details for both events can be found here, as well as on the Chicago event’s Facebook page.

We have translated an interview with Huang Weikai that took place during one of the film’s first screenings at the 2009 Beijing Documentary Week (DOChina) and was originally published on the Fanhall Films website. (Sadly, both the Fanhall website and DOChina have been shut down this year; we hope that access to outstanding films like Disorder, as well as information about them, will continue to be accessible somehow in China.)

Q: What made you want to make this film?

Huang: I have lived in the city for a long time, and I have always been very concerned with city life. In recent years, cities have evolved a lot. This explains why I want to make a documentary about present city life in China. This film reflects what I think about city life, especially the chaotic side of it.

(more…)

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

(more…)

Film Comment Spotlights Disorder – playing tomorrow at Pomona, next week in S.F.

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Disorder (dir. Huang Weikai)

In the current issue of Film Comment, Chris Chang labels Huang Weikai’s experimental documentary Disorder a “Hot Property,” describing it as “a city symphony from hell:”

Disorder begins with an image of a geyser unleashed from a broken hydrant. Cut to a man, lying in the street, the victim of a traffic accident. Are the actions related? No clue. People gathering to help the injured party are clearly unnerved by the presence of the camera – one of the film’s recurring panoptic motifs. As they try to aid the fallen man, they accuse him of “faking it” and offer him hush money. A scene of a panicky mob in a supermarket follows shortly; and then, unexpectedly, a close-up of udon noodles. Chopsticks reveal a dead cockroach, and the utensils are then used to resubmerge the bug. That’s one of the many moments of perverse levity – but the film’s general mayhem proceeds inexorably.

Disorder screens at Pomona College this Thursday as part of the series “Between Disorder and Unexpected Pleasures: Tales from the New Chinese Cinema”, Friday at the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival in Ithaca, NY, and next Thursday at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Later this spring it will screen in New York at the Museum of the Moving Image and Anthology Film Archives.

Disorder Wins Best Documentary at Ann Arbor Film Fest; Tape Wins Silver Award at YunFest

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Director Huang Weikai

It was a good weekend for a couple of filmmakers whose films we are fortunate to distribute. At the Ann Arbor Film Festival, Huang Weikai won the Michael Moore Award for Best Documentary Film, which comes with a $1,000 cash prize, for his trippy experimental documentary Disorder. Halfway around the world, Li Ning won the Silver Award at YunFest, one of the oldest independent film festivals in China, for his equally envelope-pushing documentary Tape. Unfortunately the YunFest site appears to be down at the moment, so we cannot access the full list of winners of the festival. In the meantime, we extend our warmest congratulations to Huang Weikai and Li Ning!

Both films will screen as part of the San Francisco Yerba Buena Center series Fearless: Chinese Independent Documentaries, playing all throughout April.

Disorder will screen April 9 at the REDCAT in Los Angeles as part of its series on New Chinese cinema.

Both Disorder and Tape are available in the dGenerate Films Catalog.