Posts Tagged ‘film comment’

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, Winter Vacation Named Discoveries of 2011 by Film Comment Magazine

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Disorder (dir. Huang Weikai)

The current issue of Film Comment magazine polls several critics, filmmakers and programmers on the “unknown pleasures” they watched in 2010 that are poised to be more widely discovered this year. Two Chinese films are mentioned, both independent productions: Winter Vacation by Li Hongqi and Disorder by Huang Weikai. Here are the entries, both found at the Film Comment website:

Winter Vacation: The funniest film since Goodbye, Dragon Inn, but actually it’s funnier – and a bit faster-paced. There is not a single superfluous action nor unnecessary cut. The sky is always empty over this dead-end town in Inner Mongolia, and not even an insulting tirade from a teacher “off his medicine” can break the lethargy of his students. He’s in the wrong classroom, as his substitute begins a lesson on “how to be a useful person.” Then there’s a cathartic eruption of punk rock from the Top Floor Circus on the soundtrack. If only the students could hear it. – Thom Andersen

Disorder: Huang Weikai inaugurates a new genre: the City Cacophony Film. Taking Canton as his subject, he explodes the Romantic lyricism of Ruttmann and Cavalcanti into oblique shards as China’s third largest city, polarized by tradition and globalization, becomes a study in existential absurdity. A patchwork of amateur footage offers a berserk, scattershot glimpse into the public and private spheres of this modern metropolis. A distant cousin of Godard’s Weekend, shot through with Keystone Kops, discontented citizens, and a renegade pig, Disorder is an original, terrifying portrait of a society on the verge of a nervous breakdown. – Michael Chaiken

As official distributors of Disorder, we’re quite pleased that the film was singled out for praise as a discovery in the waiting – though we’re a bit puzzled by its designation as an “unknown pleasure,” as we’ve published numerous articles and news items on the film over the past year. Disorder featured prominently in our recent coverage of the 2010 Reel China Documentary Biennial. Disorder was also mentioned in the Moving Image Source poll of Best Moving Image Moments of 2010. We even announced that director Huang Weikai was available to present his work through the end of February! We’ll just have to do a better job of getting the word out about this and other exciting new work coming from the independent film scene in China.

Film Comment Spotlights Chinese Indie Films from Vancouver Film Fest

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Rumination (dir. Xu Ruotao)

Over at Film Comment, critic Robert Koehler zeroes in on the Dragons and Tigers showcase of Asian Cinema at the Vancouver International Film Festival, programmed by Tony Rayns and Shelly Kraicer. He devotes special attention to the films from China, proclaiming, “The selection of Chinese films reconfirmed the fact that, right now, no country in the world is making more interesting and original work.”

Koehler singles in on three films in particular, comments on each excerpted below:

“Xu Ruotao’s Rumination, an astonishing and radical re-envisioning of the Cultural Revolution. Xu comes to the cinema from the visual arts and confidently rejects many conceits of not just historical film genre, but also of the poetic, auteur-driven tendencies that dominate the current festival scene. He often aims to make the viewer reconsider what they think they know about the cinematic re-staging of history. His treatment of Red Guard units running amok in the countryside is alternately a dream choreographed as a riot, and a documentary of the ways revolutionary thought is turned into religion. For instance: during scenes of the soldiers’ chanting and recitation of Maoist cant – interrupted by beatings and the interrogations of innocents – a weirdly feverish ecstasy fills the screen.

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