By Shelly Kraicer
This year’s Rotterdam Film Festival (IFFR) offered a slice of the best of Chinese indie, experimental, and near-indie cinema. Provocative films as usual, and some very special guests; more on that in a moment. Notable 2010 features like Li Hongqi’s Winter Vacation (Hanjia), Zhao Dayong’s The High Life (Xunhuan zuole), and Li Ruijun’s Old Donkey (Lao LâˆšÃ‰Â¬Âºtou) were accompanied by one premiere: Black Blood (Hei xue), by Zhang Miaoyan, a brooding blood-transfusion AIDs drama whose gloomy predictability was vitiated by its strikingly monumentalist-minimalist photography. The Piano in a Factory (Gangde qin) married the quirky independent sensibility of director Zhang Meng with a modulated, elegiac tone that was mild enough for the China Film Bureau to condone. Li Ning brought his challenging hybrid performance piece/doc Tape (Jiaodai) to Europe.