By Carlo Labrador-Pangalangan
Tape, directed by Li Ning, will screen this Thursday at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts as part of the series “Fearless: Chinese Independent Documentaries.” Here is a review by filmmaker Carlo Labrador-Pangalangan, who watched the film when it screened at MoMA Documentary Fortnight in February.
In the past ten years, only a handful of films made me re-evaluate what I considered to be cinema, providing me with a new way of looking at things. Three of those films emerged from the independent filmmaking movement in China: Wang Bing’s Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks, Liu Jiayin’s first Oxhide film, and Li Ning’s Tape.
Li Ning could be considered a “late arrival” to the scene, emerging after many of the other digital filmmakers from China have already established themselves and are already working on their second or third projects. What an arrival, though. Li Ning has basically taken what people have become familiar with in Chinese independent cinema a step further. Actually, he’s opened another dimension.