Posts Tagged ‘wang xiaoshuai’

Childhood Friends, Now Major Artists: Liu Xiaodong and Wang Xiaoshuai

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

By Kevin B. Lee

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Wang Xiaoshuai (middle) and Liu Xiaodong (right) share their views on youth, art and homecoming at an open dialogue at Minsheng Museum of Art in Shanghai. [Photo: China Daily

China Daily reports on a recent public reunion between two high school buddies, international award-winning director Wang Xiaoshuai and acclaimed oil painter Liu Xiaodong, that took place at the Shanghai Museum:

When Wang Xiaoshuai realized he could never paint as finely as his high school pal Liu Xiaodong, he gave up painting and turned to filmmaking.

Liu was one of the few students from the Central Academy of Fine Arts to have a solo exhibition right after graduation. Wang, however, went through some years in low tide working in Fujian Film Studio in the early 1990s.

Since then, Wang has won many international awards for his movie productions, including the Silver Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2001. His latest project, Chongqing Blues, competed for the Golden Palm at last year’s Cannes International Film Festival.

Liu himself is no stranger to film, having worked as an artistic collaborator with independent Sixth Generation filmmakers in the 90s, and later serving as the subject of Jia Zhangke’s documentary Dong. Recently, he is the subject of another documentary, this time by Hou Hsiao-hsien, that follows Liu as he returns to his hometown in northeast China.

At the talk Liu addressed criticism that his work takes advantage of his subjects, making millions of dollars from painting portraits of the poor and exploited. “This is hardly avoidable as we live in a commercial age,” Liu said. “Society commercializes a person incredibly quickly. As an artist, I have to be alert about being commercialized too.”

Dong is available as part of the dGenerate catalog.

Full Translation of Jia Zhangke’s Essay on Sixth Generation Cinema Now Available

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Film director Jia Zhangke

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

Back in August, we published a summary and partial translation of Jia Zhangke’s essay reflecting on the Sixth Generation of Chinese filmmakers, “I Don’t Believe That You Can Predict Our Ending (Wo bu xiang xin ni neng cai dao wo men jie ju).” We have now translated the entire article, which can be found below. Thanks to Jia Zhangke and Zhu Wen for providing us with the full text. English translation by Isabella Tianzi Cai.

Jia first delivered the essay on July 25 at the Beijing premiere of Sixth Generation director Wang Xiaoshuai‘s new feature Chongqing Blues. An unsubtitled video of Jia’s address can be found on Youku.com. An abridged version of his remarks, titled “I Don’t Believe That You Can Predict Our Ending (Wo bu xiang xin ni neng cai dao wo men jie ju)” had been published a week earlier in the Chinese newspaper The Southern Weekly.

Speaking of “the Sixth Generation”: I Don’t Believe That You Can Predict Our Ending

By Jia Zhangke

I am not sure how one would define “the Sixth Generation.” In terms of age, I am seven years younger than Zhang Yuan, who directed Mama, and I am half a year older than Lu Chuan, who is believed to belong to “the Seventh Generation.” I made Xiao Wu when I was 28. From 1998 onwards people have thought of me as from “the Sixth Generation.”

All along I have believed that there is no difference between desperately asserting oneself as belonging to a generation and desperately denying that fact. The reason that a film director does not want to categorize him or herself is either because that he or she wants to emphasize his or her uniqueness or that he or she wants to avoid having anything to do with the negative impressions of his or her generation. For example, whenever we speak of “the Sixth Generation,” one of the first things that come to our mind is that they have notoriously bad box office returns. For me, this is fine. If people want to think of me as such, then so be it.

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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.

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“We Will Always Be Loyal to Cinema:” Jia Zhangke Assesses the Sixth Generation

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

by Isabella Tianzi Cai

Wang Xiaoshuai introduces Jia Zhangke as Lou Ye looks on at the BC MOMA in Beijing (photo: Dan Edwards)

On July 25, Chinese film auteur Jia Zhangke spoke at Beijing’s BC MOMA about his feelings concerning China’s Sixth Generation filmmakers. The occasion was the Beijing premiere of Sixth Generation director Wang Xiaoshuai‘s new feature Chongqing Blues. An unsubtitled video of Jia’s address can be found on Youku.com.

An abridged version of his remarks, titled “I Don’t Believe That You Can Predict Our Ending (Wo bu xiang xin ni neng cai dao wo men jie ju)” had been published a week earlier in the Chinese newspaper The Southern Weekly. We have translated some excerpts of the article below.

Jia started by saying that he had not heard of the name “Sixth Generation” until 1992. However, he was aware of the works by directors such as Zhang Yuan, Wang Xiaoshuai, and Wu Wenguang. Eventually these directors were deemed the pioneers of China’s first independent film movement.
A 21-year old at that time, Jia was filled with intense feelings when he read a news article about Wang Xiaoshuai. In the article, Wang was said to have climbed onto a freight train bound for Baoding in Hebei Province to buy cheap black-and-white film stock. Jia was touched by Wang’s resourceful and audacious undertaking and deemed Wang one of China’s free-spirited dreamers who contributed a great deal to keeping the Chinese culture of the 1990s alive.
Jia explained the significance of the works by the Sixth Generation filmmakers as such:
“During the reform era, many people were marginalized because they lacked power and money. Which of our films told the stories of these people? Which, amongst them, induced society to acknowledge their existence – helping the weak gain recognition? The Sixth Generation filmmakers’ films did. To me, their films are the gems of the Chinese culture of the 1990s.”

A New Voice on Chinese Film: Dan Edwards’ Screening China

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Directors Jia Zhangke, Wang Xiaoshuai and Lou Ye at the Beijing premiere of Wang's Chongqing Blues (photo courtesy of Screening China)

We’ve been following Dan Edwards‘ blog Screening China for the past several weeks, and it’s quickly shaping up to be an important source for reviews on the latest in Chinese film, especially from the indie/arthouse side. Dan, who is based in Beijing, writes for The Beijinger and Real Time Arts, among other publications. We’ve been linking all year to his coverage of our films and filmmakers: a review of Ghost Town; an interview with Liu Jiayin; a profile on documentary filmmakers; and a recap of the Hong Kong International Film Festival. He’s contributed a lot in a relatively short time, and it’s good to be able to access his content on his blog (which, ironically, is blocked in China).

Here are some recent highlights from his blog:

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