Posts Tagged ‘freedom’

CinemaTalk: Interview with Zhu Rikun, Curator of Jacob Burns “Hidden China” Series, on Ai Weiwei and Chinese Indie Filmmaking

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

This October the Jacob Burns Film Center presents “Hidden China,” a monthlong series of independent documentaries produced in China, selected Zhu Rikun, producer, programmer and founder of Fanhall Studio. Zhu Rikun is a major figure in contemporary Chinese independent film, having produced such acclaimed films as Karamay and Winter Vacation. Earlier in 2012 he served as an advisor on “Hidden Histories,” a series of Chinese independent documentaries co-curated by Gertjan Zuilhof and Gerwin Tamsma for the International Film Festival Rotterdam. The centerpiece of the series was a retrospective of the documentaries of Ai Weiwei. Many of those selections are included in the “Hidden China” series at the Jacob Burns Film Center.

dGenerate Films’ Kevin B. Lee recorded this interview with Zhu Rikun during the Rotterdam series, focusing on the significance of Ai Weiwei as a documentary filmmaker and how they reflect developments in documentary filmmaking, citizen journalism and freedom of information and expression in today’s China.

Interview transcribed by Stephanie Hsu.

Kevin Lee: Looking at Ai Weiwei and his films, it seems he’s made films in two different Chinas. We look at a movie like Fairytale or Ordos 100—these are documentaries about how the Chinese art world is one of unlimited money and prestige. It’s a world the ruling powers approve of, because they think it will help elevate China in the eyes of the world. And so they work with Ai Weiwei as a famous artist to help promote that view. At the same time, he makes these highly socially critical films, like Disturbing the Peace and One Recluse. How do you see the connection between these two different kinds of movies that he makes? Do you think they are all basically the same kind of film or are they very different?

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Review: Fangshan Church, an Intimate Look at Christianity in China

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

By Maya E. Rudolph

Xu Xin’s 2005 documentary Fangshan Church, an unassuming account of a Christian congregation in a somber agricultural village in northern Jiangsu Province, examines not the face of God, but those of devout followers. Xu’s unobtrusive portrait of Fangshan Church and its pious “disciples” opens with a series of plainly framed black and white close ups: elderly congregants facing a pulpit, eyes peering forward from seemingly unaffected, prodigiously wrinkled faces. This opening montage of faces committed in prayer is imbued with a certain reverence, a sense of the sacred articulated also in the hymns and hushed prayers delivering a devotional murmur to an otherwise stark and quiet landscape.

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