Posts Tagged ‘fan lixin’

Report on Chinese Independent Documentaries for Roger Ebert’s Website

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

By Isabella Tianzi Cai

Directors Zhao Liang and Fan Lixin in Zhao Liang's Beijing studio (photo: Grace Wang)

An article of great interest was recently posted in the Chicago Sun Times-based blog, Etheriel Musings: A Journey in China, by Canadian-based blogger Grace Wang, who is a “Far Flung Correspondent” for Roger Ebert. In her lengthy article “Chinese Documentaries: An Inside Look,” Wang emphasizes the importance of Chinese documentaries in the world at large today: “they reflect, from the closest distance possible, in the most direct way possible, the rapid social, political, and cultural changes happening in China right now.”

What Wang believes Chinese documentaries can achieve is fascinating. She argues that Chinese documentary cinema outperforms conventional journalism in bringing “a deep and thorough look” into China because it is unconstrained by “the time-sensitive nature of the journalists’ occupation” and “the bureaucratic red-tape” within the Chinese press. Though it is not specifically noted, we shall understand that here she refers to independent documentaries made largely outside of the state-censored film and media industry.

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Chinese Train Doc Leaves Tracks at Sundance, Stirs Criticism at Home

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

Fan Lixin, director of Last Train Home (Photo by Nan Chalat Noaker/Park Record)

One of the most acclaimed films at this year’s Sundance Film Festival is Last Train Home by Lixin Fan. Already the Best Feature Film winner at last November’s International Documentary Festival Amsterdam, Last Train Home chronicles a migrant-worker couple in Guangzhou trying to get on a train back to Sichuan to see their kids during the Chinese New Year, the busiest and most impossible travel period in China. Ella Taylor of NPR calls it her “favorite film of the festival, bar none… Watching this devastating portrait of a family trying to glue itself back together, you wonder how China, on its way to becoming the world’s richest nation, will avoid civil war if it doesn’t also attend to the needs of the millions of poverty-stricken families like this one.”

More info (including backlash from China) and video trailer after the break.

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