Posts Tagged ‘education’

School Shutdowns Take Aim at China’s Migrant Worker Children

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

By Isabella Tianzi Cai

Shut out of school, migrant children study on the street in Cui Zi'en's "We Are the... of Communism"

Recently, both The New York Times and The Economist reported on the sudden closing down of dozens of unlicensed schools for migrant children on safety grounds in Beijing. This round of forced closures has been the largest in scale since a similar campaign to demolish migrants’ schools in Beijing in 2006, which was regarded and criticized for making way for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. How do such government ordinances affect the teachers and children whose work and education face abrupt termination? Cui Zi’en‘s documentary We are the . . . of Communism (2006), which follows a group of pupils and their teachers from Yuanhai Elementary School of Beijing in the aftermath of its shutdown, offers some clues to begin thinking about this matter.

(2006), which follows a group of pupils and their teachers from Yuanhai Elementary School of Beijing in the aftermath of its shutdown, offers some clues to begin thinking about this matter.
(more…)

CNEX announces Call for Entries!

Friday, July 1st, 2011

By Ariella Tai

CNEX, producers of the award-winning 1428, has announced their latest call for entries. This year’s theme is entitled “Educate? Educate!” They ask “Before the unpredictable 2012 arrives, CNEX wants to assemble the best and brightest works about education. Since education is not only the answer to but also the root of all questions.”

Selected topics will receive grant funding from CNEX, and those with international appeal may be chosen to participate in CNEX’s CCDF Pitching Forum in Taipei in October 2011.

Those eligible to compete must either be independent directors or producers who have produced two 30 minute documentaries or one 60 minute documentaries, or they can be writers, photographers or social workers/activists who have projects that address the topic of education in China and are working in collaboration with a director or producer. The deadline for submissions is July 20, 2011. Final Selected projects may receive up to 15,000 RNB.

Online Entry Form available at the CNEX site.

More information after the break.

(more…)

The Other Side of the Chinese Student Success Story: We Are the… of Communism

Monday, December 20th, 2010

We Are the... of Communism (dir. Cui Zi'en)

By Ariella Tai

Earlier this month a study conducted by the Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, showed Shanghai students placing first in the world, far outscoring the United States. The New York Times article reporting on these “surprising” test scores posits that a stronger “culture of education” is responsible for the stellar performance of Shanghai 15 year-olds, as well as raising anxieties that students in the United States are lagging academically. Collective investment in China’s reputation as reflected by the test scores, as well as an “amazingly strong” work ethic are also attributed to the high scores. Mark Schneider, commissioner of the Department of Education under the Bush Administration, suggests that the government may be allowing especially talented high school students to study in Shanghai instead of their home provinces in order to boost city performance on such exams.

(more…)

Building a Bookshelf for Chinese Indie Cinema: Must-have Titles

Friday, May 15th, 2009

What follows is by no means a definitive or comprehensive reading list for Chinese cinema, but rather a starting point upon which hopefully others (such as you, dear reader) are welcome to build. The idea for this post was inspired by a couple of lists that I’ve come across recently, which I’d like to share – and again, I hope this prompts others to chime in as well with their recommended titles.

First is a list of titles from film critic Richard Brody, which he posted on the New Yorker blog on the occasion of Evan Ossnos’ feature magazine article on Jia Zhangke, as well as the publication of “Jia Xiang,” a new collection of interviews and essays by Jia. Reading the second paragraph, you may see why we at dGenerate took special interest in this list:

For English readers, there are several terrific pieces of work to pursue. Michael Berry, at the University of California Santa Barbara, has recently published “Jia Zhangke’s ‘Hometown Trilogy’: Xiao Wu, Platform, Unknown Pleasures,” a concise and detailed paperback on Jia’s early work, which Berry was kind enough to share with me in galleys. A polymath who has also translated Yu Hua’s novel “To Live” (which became a Zhang Yimou-directed film), Berry has also worked as an interpreter during U.S. visits by virtually all of greater China’s leading filmmakers, and published a very valuable collection of interviews with directors entitled “Speaking In Images.” Jason McGrath’s essay “The Independent Cinema of Jia Zhangke” appears in “The Urban Generation: Chinese Cinema and Society at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century,” edited by Zhang Zhen. Ni Zhen, a longtime Chinese film professor, has published the entertaining “Memoirs from the Beijing Film Academy: The Genesis of China’s Fifth Generation,” which has been translated into English by Chris Berry. (Let’s hope someone soon takes on the project of translating Jia’s work for a similar audience.) Philip P. Pan’s acclaimed “Out of Mao’s Shadow” recounts filmmaker Hu Jie’s travails in making some of China’s most controversial underground documentaries. Yingjin Zhang’s “Chinese National Cinema” provides a concise overview on the first century of Chinese film.

Finally, I highly recommend the writing of Dudley Andrew, who teaches at Yale, and who was kind enough to share his work on Jia’s connection to André Bazin; Shelly Kraicer, who is monitoring the contemporary scene and blogging for the website of dGenerate Films; and the critic Kevin Lee, who wrote an insightful piece on Jia Zhangke that remains as valuable today as it was when it appeared in 2003.

We also received a list from Norman Spencer, who has been a stalwart supporter of Chinese independent cinema, including two filmmakers represented in our catalog, Jian Yi and Ying Liang. Here are titles he personally recommended for a dGenerate Films office library:

* Michael Berry, XIAO WU – PLATFORM – UNKNOWN PLEASURES: JIA ZHENG
KE’S “HOMETOWN TRILOGY”,

* Shaoyi Sun & Li Xun, LIGHTS! CAMERA! KAI SHI! : IN DEPTH INTERVIEWS
WITH CHINA”S NEW GENERATION OF MOVIE DIRECTORS

* Paul Pickowicz & Yingjin Zhang, FROM UNDERGROUND TO INDEPENDENT:
ALTERNATIVE FILM CULTURE IN CONTEMPORARY CHINA.

*Jason McGrath, POSTSOCIALIST MODERNITY: CHINESE CINEMA, LITERATURE
AND CRITICISM IN THE MARKET AGE

* Zhang Zhen, THE URBAN GENERATION: CHINESE CINEMA AND SOCIETY AT THE
TURN OF THE 21st CENTURY

*Michael Berry, SPEAKING IN IMAGES: INTERVIEWS WITH CONTEMPORARY
CHINESE FILM DIRECTORS

There are certainly many other titles out there – you are welcome to mention any outstanding recommendations (as well as any upcoming releases we should expect) by leaving a comment.