Posts Tagged ‘oxhide ii’

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.

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.

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.

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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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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.

Global Times: Liu Jiayin Working on Oxhide III

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

Liu Jiayin, director of Oxhide, Oxhide II and the forthcoming Oxhide III (photo courtesy of Liu Jiayin)

In anticipation of Oxhide and Oxhide II director Liu Jiayin’s presentation at the Beijing Apple Store this Thursday, Hao Ying of the Global Times (English edition) profiled the director. Here’s an excerpt:

Meeting director Liu Jiayin, it’s hard to forget scenes from her autobiographic film Oxhide in which her father tries to bully her into growing taller by forcing her to drink milk, and also urges her to hang from a pull-up bar. Her mother, also concerned she isn’t flowering into a curvy woman, urges Liu to dress more daintily, like a Japanese girl.

Her parents’ tactics didn’t work. During a recent interview with the Global Times at a coffee shop, the waitress asked the tomboyish, short director, “Mister, would you like some sugar?” Other people might be distressed by having the world know their most intimate stories, but this doesn’t seem to phase Liu, who is currently finishing the story for Oxhide III, the planned third part of her extraordinary series of fictionalized films about the intimate details of her own family.

Liu is giving a presentation on digital filmmaking at the Apple Store in Sanlitun Village on Thursday at 7 pm. She used Final Cut to edit Oxhide II on a friend’s computer, and currently uses a Macbook Pro. She advises also beginning filmmakers to borrow or rent a camera instead of buying one, because the technology is changing so fast.

Read the rest of the article – in which she gives some details on Oxhide III, and how to solve the filmmaker’s equivalent of “conquering AIDS and cancer” – at the Global Times.