Posts Tagged ‘oxhide’

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.
(more…)

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.

(more…)

Oxhide director Liu Jiayin in Person! Shelly Kraicer Programs Cinema Pacific Film Festival, April 6-10

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Oxhide II (photo courtesy of Fanhall Films)

From the Cinema Pacific Site:

CINEMA PACIFIC is an annual film festival based at the University of Oregon in Eugene that is devoted to discovering and fostering the creativity of international films and new media from Pacific-bordering countries, including the U.S. Through onsite and online presentations, the festival connects stimulating artists and ideas with a diverse public, furthering our understanding of world cultures and contemporary issues.

Cinema Pacific’s first Festival Fellow, Shelly Kraicer, will be our guide through the current independent film scene in China. Kraicer is a Beijing-based film critic who publishes widely about Chinese film and is also a programmer of East Asian films for the Vancouver Film Festival.

Read more about Chinese Independent Cinema at the Festival site.

The series features four of dGenerate’s films: 1428 by Du Haibin, Disorder by Huang Weikai and Oxhide and Oxhide II by Liu Jiayin. Liu Jiayin will present both films in person.

Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students and seniors. Tickets can be purchased here.

Eugene, Oregon (Map) is located 110 miles south of Portland, Oregon. Air service to Eugene’s Mahlon Sweet Field (code EUG) is available through Horizon Air, Delta Connection/Sky West, United, and Allegiant Air. Greyhound and AMTRAK both provide ground transportation options.

A full schedule of the film festival appears after the break.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

Filmmakers Share Their Visions at the Get It Louder Creative Showcase

Friday, November 5th, 2010

By Sara Beretta

Director Liu Jiayin answering questions at Get It Louder (photo: Get It Louder)

Get It Louder (Da Sheng Zhan), one of China’s hottest showcases for emerging creative talent, followed its first session in Beijing with a run in Shanghai. The film program was particularly intense, featuring 26 movies (9 documentaries and 17 narrative) by both Chinese and non-Chinese filmmakers. The screenings included dGenerate titles Er Dong (dir. Yang Jin), Oxhide I & II (dir. Liu Jiayin) and Street Life (dir. Zhao Dayong).

Get It Louder’s stated theme of “Sharism,” emphasizing a spirit of collaboration and exchange among audiences and artists, was especially pertinent to the independent films on display, which otherwise are largely inaccessible to audiences in China. Director Q&A sessions were characterized not only by technical and artistic topics, but often went in depth over the the directors’ intentions. The concept of “Sharism” was demonstrated in the exchanges between viewers and directors, enriching the cinematic experience. One’s individual experiences of the film is not cancelled but amplified in exchanging perceptions with others.

The artistry and complexity of the works shone through in the screenings. The hard life of homeless migrant workers is realistically and poetically told by Zhao Dayong in Street Life. The fiction work by Yang Jin is deeply rooted in his own experience growing up in rural Shanxi province. Liu Jiayin’s exploration of time and space creatively transforms gestures and rituals we all pass through daily. Once again, art and life are not that far from each other, and sharing the experience of feeling and commenting on them is enriching and worthy. Hope there will be more and more events and occasions – in China and elsewhere – to have a look at ourselves through the eyes (and lens) of independent directors.

Time Out Beijing Profiles Four Generations of Beijing Film Academy Directors

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Beijing Film Academy graduate, teacher and film director Liu Jiayin with her parents on the set of Oxhide II (2009)

By Isabella Tianzi Cai

Being the fastest growing film industry in the world, in terms of the increase in box office receipts, total screen numbers, and number of films produced, Chinese cinema is gathering unprecedented attention. While its future generates much discussion, its past also attracts more interest than ever. Time Out Beijing recently interviewed one Chinese director from each of the past four “Generations,” including dGenerate Director Liu Jiayin. Below are some observations of the interesting patterns that emerge from these interviews.

First, there is a clear lineage from the earlier generations to the latter ones. All four directors – Xie Fei from the Fourth Generation, Feng Xiaoning from the Fifth, Wang Xiaoshuai from the Sixth, and Liu Jiayin from the Seventh – acknowledged the presence of their seniors’ works and influences on them in the school. Xie Fei mentioned that during his time, video cassettes were not yet available, so “directors used to bring their new films for screenings” at the school. He got to see Xie Jin’s The Red Detachment of Women in print with his class in 1961. Feng described that for his generation, they ” paid attention to directors like Xie Jin who had gone before [them] – rejecting old traditions blindly is a bad idea.” Wang Xiaoshuai, on the other hand, listed specific people who inspired him when he was a student; they were Ni Zhen (the writer of Raise the Red Lantern), Zheng Dongtian, Lou Ye (director of Summer Palace and Suzhou River), and Lu Xuechang (A Lingering Face and Cala, My Dog!). Liu Jiayin, too, described the great film directors who had studied before her as “an inspiration” and said that she could not begin to tell how much she had learned from being there.

(more…)