Posts Tagged ‘jia zhang-ke’

CinemaTalk: a Conversation with Michael Berry

Monday, August 24th, 2009

dGenerate Films presents CinemaTalk, an ongoing series of conversations with esteemed scholars of Chinese cinema studies. These conversations are presented on this site in audio podcast and/or text format. They are intended to help the Chinese cinema studies community keep abreast of the latest work being done in the field, as well as to learn what recent Chinese films are catching the attention of others. This series reflects our mission to bring valuable resources and foster community around the field of Chinese film studies.

Michael Berry (photo courtesy of University of California, Santa Barbara / Michael Berry)Michael Berry is Associate Professor of Contemporary Chinese Cultural Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of the BFI Film Classics monograph Jia Zhang-ke’s Hometown Trilogy, which offers extended analysis of the films Xiao Wu, Platform, and Unknown Pleasures; A History of Pain: Trauma in Modern Chinese Literature and Film, which explores literary and cinematic representations of atrocity in twentieth century China; and Speaking in Images: Interviews with Contemporary Chinese Filmmakers, a collection of dialogues with contemporary Chinese filmmakers including Hou Hsiao-hsien, Zhang Yimou, Stanley Kwan, and Jia Zhangke. Also an active literary translator, Berry has translated several important contemporary Chinese novels by Yu Hua, Ye Zhaoyan, Chang Ta-chun, and Wang Anyi. Current literary translation projects include the modern martial arts novel The Last Swallow of Autumn (Xia Yin) and Wu He’s (Dancing Crane) award-winning novel Remains of Life (Yu Sheng), a fascinating literary exploration of the 1930 Musha Incident, which was honored with a 2008 NEA Translation Grant.

In this conversation with dGenerate’s Kevin Lee, Michael shares his insights on Jia Zhangke, specifically his career development since the “Hometown Trilogy” and his recent controversy at the Melbourne International Film Festival. Be sure to read Jia’s statement of withdrawal from the Melbourne Film Festival as a point of reference.

Play the Podcast (Time: 17:39)

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Download it here (right-click to download, file size: 8.2 MB).

Get a list of Michael’s publications and a timecoded index of topics covered in the interview after the jump.

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Statement by Jia Zhangke on his withdrawal from Melbourne International Film Festival

Friday, July 24th, 2009

As a follow-up to yesterday’s news of three Chinese films pulling out of the Melbourne International Film Festival in protest to a documentary on Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer, we are posting a translation of a statement made by Jia Zhangke concerning his decision to withdraw his short film as well as Emily Tang’s A Perfect Life, produced by Jia’s company XStream Pictures. The original statement in Chinese, found here, was translated by Yuqian Yan. In this statement Jia refers to another protest, by British director Ken Loach, who withdrew from the festival after objecting to the festival’s sponsorship by the state of Israel.

1. We have no intention to interfere with the film festival’s freedom to facilitate artistic communication. It is our way of self-discipline to withdraw from the Melbourne Film Festival. I’m not an expert at Xinjiang history, but since it is only two weeks after the Urumqi riots, I think we should at least be cautious not to offend the victims.

2. The political inclination of the Melbourne Film Festival this year is getting stronger. First, it was the British director Ken Loach who questioned the funding of the festival, accusing them of using blood money. Then Ten Conditions of Love, a documentary about Rebiya Kadeer, appeared on the program list. They even organized a series of activities for her.

3. We think attending the same event with Rebiya Kadeer contains political meanings. It is emotionally intolerable and practically inappropriate. So the staff of Xstream Pictures agreed to withdraw from the festival to show our attitude and stance.

4. On July 19, our company representative Zhou Qiang (Chow Keung) wrote to the president of Melbourne Film Festival, announcing that two films from XStream Pictures: “Cry Me a River” and A Perfect Life will withdraw from the festival. Director Emily Tang Xiaobai and producer Zhou Qiang (Chow Keung) also canceled their plans to attend the festival.