Posts Tagged ‘tape’

Chinese Films at Rotterdam Film Fest, Including Two dGenerate Titles

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

Fortune Teller (dir. Xu Tong)

This year’s 40th edition of the Rotterdam International Film Festival has a particularly strong showing of Chinese films. Though none are competing for the prestigious Tiger award, there are plenty in the Bright Future section of emerging filmmakers, as well as a couple of programs specifically about China. But we are especially pleased to announced that two titles we distribute in North America will make their European premiere at Rotterdam. dGenerate’s Kevin B. Lee will be attending the festival; if you happen to be there and would like to meet Kevin or attend a screening, he can be reached at kevin *at* dgeneratefilms *dot* com.

Our films are:

Fortune Teller, dir. Xu Tong

Li Baicheng is a charismatic fortune teller who services a clientele of prostitutes and marginalized figures whose jobs, like his, are commonplace but technically illegal in China. He practices his ancient craft in a village near Beijing while taking care of his deaf and dumb wife Pearl, whom he had rescued from her family’s mistreatment. Winter brings a police crackdown on both fortune tellers and prostitutes, forcing Li and Pearl into temporary exile in his hometown, where he revisits old family demons. His humble story is told with chapter headings similar to Qing Dynasty popular fiction, as the film draws narrative complexity from China’s everyday life.

Cinerama 7 Tue 01 Feb 10:30
Cinerama 5 Fri 04 Feb 12:45

More details

Tape, dir. Li Ning

For five grueling years, Li Ning documents his struggle to achieve success as an avant-garde artist while contending with the pressures of modern life in China. He is caught between two families: his wife, son and mother, whom he can barely support; and his enthusiastic but disorganized guerilla dance troupe. Li’s chaotic life becomes inseparable from the act of taping it, as if his experiences can only make sense on screen. Tape shatters documentary conventions, utilizing a variety of approaches, including guerilla documentary, experimental street video, even CGI. Much like Jia Zhangke’s Platform, Tape captures a decade’s worth of artistic aspirations and failures, while breaking new ground in individual expression in China.

LV 6 Wed 02 Feb 12:00 tickets
LV 3 Fri 04 Feb 16:00

More details

In addition. Zhao Dayong (Ghost Town, Street Life) will screen his new documentary My Father’s House, as part of the Festival’s special Raiding Africa program. Inspired by the growing influence of China in some African countries, the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) asks seven filmmakers from South Africa, Cameroon, Uganda, Rwanda, Congo and Angola to make films in China. The African directors’ films will premiere, along with a contextual film program, during the Rotterdam’s 40th edition.

We hope to have more coverage of the festival in the days to come…

Tape and Fortune Teller at Rotterdam International Film Festival

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

Those of you fortunate enough to be at the Rotterdam International Film Festival should look for two new dGenerate films, Li Ning’s Tape and Xu Tong’s Fortune Teller.

Tape screened on Friday and will also be screened on Wed, Feb. 2 at 12pm and Fri, Feb. 4 at 4pm. Fortune Teller also screened Friday and screens again on Tuesday, Feb. 1 at 10:30am and Fri, Feb. 4 at 12:45pm.

Descriptions of Tape and Fortune Teller can be found here and here. And if you happen to be at the festival, track down dGenerate’s Kevin Lee and say hi!

Tape (Jiao Dai)

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

LI Ning. China, 2010. Documentary, 168 minutes.
Mandarin w/ English subtitles.

“A riveting portrait of an artist’s attempts at expression and conflicts with societal norms.” – Museum of Modern Art

Performance artist Li Ning turns his life into art in this epic work of experimental documentary.

For five grueling years, Li Ning documents his struggle to achieve success as an avant-garde artist while contending with the pressures of modern life in China. He is caught between two families: his wife, son and mother, whom he can barely support; and his enthusiastic but disorganized guerilla dance troupe. Li’s chaotic life becomes inseparable from the act of taping it, as if his experiences can only make sense on screen.

Tape shatters documentary conventions, utilizing a variety of approaches, including guerilla documentary, experimental street video, even CGI. Tape captures a decade’s worth of artistic aspirations and failures, while breaking new ground in individual expression in China. “Li succeeds in revealing his own soul” (Rotterdam International Film Festival).

Director’s Bio:

LI Ning is an avant-garde dancer and performance artist, who made his film debut with the documentary Tape.

Reviews

Select Film Festivals:

WINNER, Silver Digital Award, YunFest Documentary Festival

OFFICIAL SELECTION, MoMA Documentary Fortnight

OFFICIAL SELECTION, International Film Festival Rotterdam

OFFICIAL SELECTION, Jeonju International Film Festival

OFFICIAL SELECTION, Beijing Independent Documentary Film Festival

Trailer:

FORMATS
PRICE
AVAILABILITY
(This title is available in the US only)
DVD (Colleges, Universities, Institutions)
$295
Order Direct
DVD (K-12, Public Libraries, Select Groups) $195
Institutional Download
TBD
Coming Soon
Public Performance Exhibition (NTSC Beta, DVD)

dGenerate Titles Fortune Teller, Tape to Screen at Rotterdam Film Festival

Monday, January 10th, 2011

Artist Li Ning performing "Tape"

The International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR), one of the leading venues for global cutting-edge cinema, announced its Bright Future program of debut and second feature films by fresh filmmaking talent from around the world. Five Chinese titles are included in the lineup, including two represented by dGenerate Films: Fortune Teller by Xu Tong and Tape by Li Ning. dGenerate Films is the North American distributor of Fortune Teller and the international sales agent for Tape.

The IFFR runs from January 26-February 6, 2010 in Rotterdam. Both directors Xu Tong and Li Ning will be present at the festival. Screening dates and details will be announced later.

The full Competition lineup for the prestigious Tiger Award will be announced over the coming days. We expect more exciting titles from China to be announced, possibly featuring names familiar to the dGenerate catalog. Stay tuned.

Absurdity, Art, and Life on Tape: Report from the 2010 Reel China Documentary Biennial

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Tape (dir. Li Ning)

By Isabella Tianzi Cai

Published as part of Dong Week at dGenerate Films, a series of articles on Jia Zhangke and the art world in China.

Absurdity loomed large at the Reel China Documentary Biennial this year, held at New York University from October 15-17. The two film directors on hand, Huang Weikai and Du Haibin, repeatedly used “absurd” to describe the message that they wanted their films to convey. In Huang’s Disorder and Du’s 1428, this sense of absurdity is manifested acutely in their apocalyptic visions of urban Guangzhou and rural Sichuan province, respectively. It is as if in exchange for economic acceleration, China has traded its citizens’ sanity. No one can deny that in China progress is real, but it is also mindless. To quote Jean Baudrillard in his book The Transparency of Evil: Essays on Extreme Phenomena, progress “picks up speed precisely in proportion to its increasing indifference to its original aims.” We can perhaps say that, though the word is derogatory in meaning, “absurdity” is indicative of China’s final arrival at the dawn of post-modernity.

Perhaps no film exemplified this theme more comprehensively than Tape, contemporary avant-garde dancer Li Ning’s five year chronicle of his personal life, alternating between his struggles with two types of “family”: his oft-neglected wife, son and mother; and his enthusiastic but unstable dance troupe comprised of college students. Made amidst a massive urban renovation project performed on his hometown of Jinan, the film is a postmodernist collage of cinéma vérité-style filming of Li’s interactions with his family, direct cinema-style filming of civic incidents, such as three men holding down a woman as her store is shut down, self-reflexive confessions, scripted voice-over narration, computerized special effects, experimental mise-en-scene, dream sequences, dialectical editing, and so on. (more…)

Shelly on Film: From Buenos Aires to Beijing

Monday, May 31st, 2010

Buenos Aires Festival of Independent Cinema

I was able to attend two events last month that showcased the strength, diversity, and vitality of new independent documentaries from China. The first, at BAFICI, the Buenos Aires Festival of Independent Cinema, was a section on recent Chinese independent docs that I curated for the festival. Intended as an abbreviated look back at the past 2 years or so of Chinese indies, I selected eight films (but could easily have chosen twenty) that represented different directions in what I called “radical” documentary filmmaking (using “radical” as broadly defined, in form or in content) in China today:

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