Posts Tagged ‘liu jiayin’

Oxhide director Liu Jiayin on the Wonders of Digital Filmmaking

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Chinese directors Zhu Wen (L) and Liu Jiayin (R) pose during a photocall at the San Sebastian Film Festival. Picture: AFP

The nine-day San Sebastian [Film F]estival… features 18 films made by Chinese directors over the past decade with the digital cameras, which make it cheaper to shoot and easier to skirt government censorship.

Chinese filmmakers are using digital cameras to explore new, more daring forms of storytelling and are covering marginalized characters and themes that were previously ignored.

“There really are many people who are filming in this format, which is the independent cinema in China,” said Chinese filmmaker Liu Jiayin, whose movie “Oxhide II” is in the film festival.

The movie features her mother and father as actors and the action takes place entirely inside their dark, dreary and modest home where the couple and their daughter discuss the state of the family’s failing business.

Like most Chinese movies made using the digital technology, the director also wrote the script.

“With this format I can do everything. Five or ten years ago if I wanted to shoot a film, I couldn’t have done it. Now I can,” said 30-year-old Liu, who invested all her savings to buy the camera she used to make the film.

- From The New Age.

Oxhide labeled “Crucial Viewing” – screens Monday at Chicago’s Doc Films

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

Oxhide (dir. Liu Jiayin)

On the Cine-File website, a comprehensive and highly selective guide to movie screenings in the Chicagoland area, critic Ignatiy Vishnevetsky (Ebert Presents at the Movies, Mubi.com and Chicago Reader) singles out Oxhide as “Crucial Viewing” for this week. Liu Jiayin’s masterpiece screens Monday at Doc Films at the University of Chicago as part of its 11-film series of Chinese Independent cinema, co-programmed with dGenerate.

CRUCIAL VIEWING

Liu Jiayin’s OXHIDE I (Contemporary Chinese)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) – Monday, 7pm
Liu Jiayin made a name for herself on the festival circuit with this no-budget chamber piece; Monday’s Doc Films screening marks its long-overdue first appearance in Chicago. Despite OXHIDE’s popularity with a certain theoretical-formalist crowd, it’s one of the few films from the last decade to feel like the work of an outsider; Liu’s use of the ‘scope frame, for example, is a genuinely original: instead of using the wider aspect ratio to expand the horizontal, she cuts off the vertical, reducing the actions of a Beijing family (played by Liu and her parents) to hands, torsos, and the movement of objects across a table. There’s only one location, the camera is always static, the lighting is non-existent, and there are only 23 shots in the whole thing – but instead of being some dry postgraduate exercise, OXHIDE is nervy and sometimes surprisingly energetic, thanks in part to Liu’s sophisticated sound design; few recent films have been able to do so much with so little. (2005, 110 min, Video Projection) IV

More info at www.docfilms.uchicago.edu.

11 Chinese Independent Films Screening this Fall in Chicago – Starts Monday

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Oxhide II (dir. Liu Jiayin)

This will be the largest series of Chinese cinema in Chicago this year. The series is listed online at: http://docfilms.uchicago.edu/dev/calendar/2011/fall/monday.shtml (note that the opening night screening is not listed).

A Selection of Chinese Independent Cinema

Mondays, September 26 – November 28, 2011
Doc Films, University of Chicago
Max Palevsky Cinema in Ida Noyes Hall
The University of Chicago
1212 East 59th Street, Chicago, IL

Tickets $5, free with DocFilms season pass ($30)

Few national cinemas are as vibrant as that of contemporary China. Similarly, there are few places in the world today where art and media practice share such an important role in addressing national memory and societal issues. For these and other reasons, some of the most important work being made in China today is made by independent artists, with techniques that challenge the conventions and boundaries of both documentary and fiction film.

dGenerate Films (http://dgeneratefilms.com) stands as an important cultural pipeline, distributing independent cinema from mainland China within North America and Europe. This program intends to offer a sampling of the dGenerate catalogue, which contains many of the most important films produced in China within the last decade. These films reflect Chinese independent cinema in its broad diversity, social urgency, and creative innovation.

Full schedule after the break. (more…)

Ai Weiwei on Beijing, a “Nightmare” of a City

Friday, September 9th, 2011

By Isabella Tianzi Cai

The Olympic Stadium in Beijing, designed by Ai Weiwei in the city he now calls "a nightmare"


In his essay posted on The Daily Beast on August 28, 2010, artist Ai Weiwei rants about Beijing being a nightmarish city for anyone to live in. He says that the rapid economic progress of China has ironically made its capital unrecognizable and its people identity-less, and the country’s political rigidity has only worsened these problems.

In a depressing overview of the people living in Beijing, Ai sorts them into one of the two categories. One, he says, are the money-grabbers and power-worshippers who are distressingly predictable. “You don’t want to look at a person walking past because you know exactly what’s on his mind.” Frustrated, he goes on. “No curiosity. And no one will even argue with you.” The other category, which refers to the mass middle to low wage earners in the city, sounds just as pitiful. “I see people on public buses, and I see their eyes, and I see they hold no hope,” Ai observes.
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Oxhide director Liu Jiayin interviewed on Artspace blog

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Oxhide II (dir. Liu Jiayin)

By Ariella Tai

On the University of Sydney’s blog Artspace, Christen Cornell interviews Liu Jiayin on her acclaimed films Oxhide and Oxhide II (both available in the dGenerate catalog). Despite being one of the youngest artists of the current generation of independent Chinese filmmakers, she is credited with being one of the most innovative. In this interview, she discusses her aesthetic choices, as well as her reasons for using daily household routines as the focus of her films. She gives an especially provoking response when asked what she wants the viewer to draw from her extended observations of daily household tasks, quipping that “Maybe it’s just how to make a bag, or make dumplings.”

CC: But we’re shown the years of repetition in this family’s daily tasks, we’re shown their skills, and how each member of the family has their own way of doing things. There’s a feeling of respect in the film.

LJY: True. These are the details of life that I think are interesting but that are often overlooked, especially within films, so I make a special effort to film them. Usually in films, if people are cooking or eating dinner, it’s never to show that people cook or eat dinner. It’s only ever used as a backdrop in which to show or say something else. So for example during dinner two people have a fight; or somebody announces they’re pregnant; or somebody announces they’re having an affair. And cooking scenes are often used to express that a couple are happy together; or to say something about a family; or the relationship between two people. These scenes are hardly ever about the cooking or eating.


I think these daily routines are interesting in themselves. I don’t have to add anything else to these moments in order to make them interesting to me. I don’t think you need somebody to catch fire, or for somebody to die, to make them worthy of observing.

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Video Essays on New Chinese Cinema – Screenings This Weekend at MOMI

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

By Kevin B. Lee

In conjunction with the screening series New Tales of Chinese Cinema screening this weekend at the Museum of the Moving Image, here are two video essays exploring films from the series, both published at Moving Image Source. The series includes Disorder by Huang Weikai and Oxhide II by Liu Jiayin, both distributed by dGenerate. Oxhide II screens Saturday, April 30 at 2pm. Disorder screens Saturday, April 30 at 5pm

Descriptions of each video can be found at the Moving Image Source, and after the break.

New Beginnings: Opening moments from contemporary Chinese cinema

Slow Food: David Bordwell on Oxhide II

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LA Times Feature on LA Chinese Cinema Series, special mention on Oxhide 2

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Oxhide II (dir. Liu Jiayin)

In the lead-up to the ten-film, five-venue series “Between Disorder and Unexpected Pleasures: New Chinese Cinema,” Reed Johnson in The Los Angeles Times gives a lengthy feature exploring the series and interviewing its co-curators, Cheng-Sim Lim and Berenice Reynaud.

The article introduces the series in the context of Chinese cinema history, following the Fifth and Sixth Generations of Chinese filmmakers. In contrast, the current wave of largely digital filmmaking is more numerous in quantity and diverse in approach:

“I call it this sort of flowering of many voices,” says Cheng-Sim Lim, a film scholar who co-curated “Between Disorder.” “You have this breaking up of this very unitary view of Chinese film.”

Reynaud offers additional context in the way of how these films are seen in China: “You have film clubs, cafes, you have also a number of websites where you can download independent video for free, [and] you have a lot of little film societies.”

The article touches on nearly every film in the series, but gives special attention to Liu Jiayin’s Oxhide II:

Among the most startlingly original movies is “Oxhide II,” a sequel by the young female director Liu Jiayin to her stunning, self-financed “Oxhide I” (2004), which she shot in Cinemascope in her parents’ 50-square-meter apartment/kitchen/workshop in southern Beijing, where the family scratches out a living by making purses. Casting her real-life parents as themselves and deploying a single, stationary camera, the writer-director combines carefully choreographed body movements and seemingly incidental but actually scripted dialogue in tightly framed shots, producing a claustrophobic and harrowing, yet disarmingly humorous narrative of a family’s inner tensions.

The banal rituals of daily life take on surprising significance as Liu reveals her skill as a miniaturist master and her deep empathy toward characters struggling to break free of physical and social confines. Reynaud compares the way the “Oxhide” films unfold to the method of spreading out and reading a classical Chinese scroll painting. “What they borrow from the scroll is the absence of a vanishing point, the absence of a master gaze and, very importantly, the use of negative space,” she says.

The series begins Wednesday, April 6. More information here.

CinemaTalk: Conversation with Liu Jiayin, director of Oxhide and Oxhide II

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

This entry is part of a weeklong spotlight of newly available titles in the dGenerate Films catalog.

Director Liu Jiayin was interviewed at the Apple Store Sanlitun Beijing, as part of the “Meet the Filmmakers” series, co-presented by the Apple Store in Beijing and dGenerate Films, a series to showcase China’s newest filmmakers powered by digital technology.

Liu Jiayin was born in Beijing in 1981. At age 23, she made her debut feature Oxhide while a Master’s student the Beijing Film Academy. Oxhide has won several prizes (including the FIPRESCI award at Berlin Film Festival, Golden DV Award at Hong Kong International Film Festival, and Dragons and Tigers Award at Vancouver Film Festival) and has been called “the most important Chinese film of the past several years–and one of the most astonishing recent films from any country” (film critic Shelly Kraicer). Her follow-up Oxhide II (2009) was similarly lauded, and won awards at CinDi Seoul and was featured in the Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes. She is currently a professor of screen writing at the Beijing Film Academy, and is developing the final part of her trilogy, Oxhide III.

The video of Liu’s interview is in three parts, with an English transcript following each video. Video of Part One is below. Click through to view both videos and the full transcript. Interview conducted by Yuqian Yan. Videography by Kevin Lee. English transcription and subtitles by Isabella Tianzi Cai.

Note: English subtitles for each video can be accessed by clicking on the CC button in the pop-up menu on the bottom right corner of the player. The subtitles can be repositioned anywhere on the screen by clicking on them (if they are not displaying properly, click them to adjust).

Part I.

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Shelly on Film: The Use and Abuse of Chinese Cinema, Part Two

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

By Shelly Kraicer

This is the conclusion of Shelly Kraicer’s essay “The Use and Abuse of Chinese Cinema (in the West).” Click here for the introduction and first half of the essay.

———-

Oxhide 2 (dir. Liu Jiayin)

4. Exemplary Asian independent art cinema. This misreading has something in common with Number 1 (“Exotic, colorful diversion”) , but in a more rarified, sophisticated form. It also contradicts (but exists in a weird sort of symbiosis with) Number 5 below. There is supposed to be something essentially “Asian” (meaning usually East Asian) about the predominant mode of contemporary art cinema now celebrated in festivals worldwide. Films that convey China’s backwardness (see Number 6 below) often employ a Andre Bazin-influenced mise en scène that is post-realist in its effect. Long takes, a demandingly slow pace, opaque storytelling, a distant motionless camera, inexpressive, non-professional actors, lots and lots of visual and narrative blankness, emptiness, stillness. Examples abound, the best recent exponents being Yang Heng (Betelnut, Sun Spots), Yang Rui (Crossing the Mountain), and in her own inimitable way, Liu Jiayin (Oxhide and Oxhide 2).

This analysis reduces an often surprising diversity of film styles into something that is assumed to spring, essentially and almost automatically, from a specific historical and cultural background, with local visual and pictorial traditions transmuted directly into their filmic correlatives. This in a sense over-simplifies and over-particularizes Chinese filmmakers who are utterly fluent (more than most of us) in the world-cinema image market (you can easily find films from everywhere, from every era, in China’s wonderfully eclectic bootleg DVD shops). By insisting on the “Chinese-ness” of these films, a special understanding, a privileged access to the films’ “essences,” may reserved for Sinological experts.

5. International art cinema master(s’) works. On the other hand, it’s just as easy to abuse Chinese cinema as some sort of proof that master directors work in a universal style recognizalbe to experts, critics, professionals, and well-trained festival audiences. In absolute contradistinction to Number 4 above, this attitude says “you don’t need to know anything about China and its specific cultural history to appreciate these films. They are great cinema, full stop”. This can be a branding exercise, like Number 2 (“Commercial entertainment”), but one for a more discriminating audience who needs to be reassured that she or he will be able to enjoy the latest Chinese masterpiece without unduly stressing over its foreignness. This is global art, i.e. It belongs to “Us,” not to its incidentally “Other” creators. Hegemony reasserts itself as art / film criticism, denaturing a film for our appropriation and viewing pleasure (with emphasis on the pleasure). This tendency can be seen in the flattering (for a forty-year-old director) inclusion of the latest Jia Zhangke film I Wish I Knew in the “Masters” section of the Toronto International Film Festival programme.

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Xu Tong’s FORTUNE TELLER wins NETPAC Award

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Xu Tong accepts the NETPAC award at the Chongqing Independent Film and Video Festival

By Isabella Tianzi Cai

At the 4th Chongqing Independent Film and Video Festival this year, Xu Tong’s Fortune Teller won the NETPAC Award for the Best Feature-length Film. Ten films were nominated for this category; they included Liu Jiayin’s Oxhide 2 (distributed by dGenerate Films) and Qiu Jiongjiong’s Madame.

The 2010 CIFVF was presented in partnership with Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC), a regional organization formed in 1990 for the recognition and development of Asian films. Over the past two decades, NETPAC has made many valuable contributions to Asian cinema. The institution of the NETPAC Award, for instance, is one of them. As of the present, the NETPAC Award is offered at 28 film festivals in 21 countries. It is stated on their website that “as more Asian films were selected for exhibition for world audiences, a yardstick for quality . . . that matched the competitive spirit fueling the creative urges of young Asian filmmakers” was necessary.

Roughly 130 people came for the screening of Fortune Teller in the 2010 CIFVF and attended the Q&A session with Xu Tong afterwards. CIFVF organizer Ying Liang, whose features Taking Father Home and The Other Half are distributed by dGenerate, was the moderator for the event. (Report in Chinese at Liang You)