Posts Tagged ‘zhu wen’

Berenice Reynaud Spotlights Six Chinese Films at Vancouver

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Thomas Mao (dir. Zhu Wen)

Judging by the extensive coverage of Chinese films at the Vancouver International Film Festival, one can conclude that it is one of the key venues to see the best of Chinese cinema outside of China. We’ve already pointed to reports by VIFF Dragons and Tigers programmer Shelly Kraicer, Film Comment’s Robert Koehler and MUBI’s Daniel Kasman. In the latest issue of Senses of Cinema, Berenice Reynaud offers an in-depth take on half a dozen Chinese-language titles, among many other films reviewed from the festival. Some excerpts:

On Li Hongqi’s Winter Vacation: “Li alternates wordless, rigorously composed scenes with instances of sparse dialogue, a Beckett-like hollowing of everyday platitudes.”

On Zhu Wen’s Thomas Mao: “Another scintillating example of neo-Chinese wit.”

On Jia Zhangke’s I Wish I Knew: “Old Shanghai is disappearing in the wake of unprecedented urban destruction (a lot of it caused by the World Expo itself); I Wish I Knew captures it as a dream, a memory, a flow of cinematic images that are as fluid and immaterial as the two rivers that run through it.”

On Hao Jie’s Single Man: “Visceral, off-colour, generous to a fault, Hao Jie’s Guanggun (Single Man) is one of the most exciting filmmaking debuts in years.”

On Zhao Dayong’s The High Life: “Zhao plays with our narrative expectations, blurring the lines between fiction and self-representation.”

On Xu Tong’s Fortune Teller: “Following Li and Little Pearl on the back alleys and dusty roads of rural China, Xu – whose first film, Mai shou (Wheat Harvest, 2008) was the controversial portrait of a lower class prostitute leading a double life – casts an unsentimental gaze at these humble lives that the “new and harmonious society” would like to keep under the rug.”

Reynaud concludes of the latter three films:

During the Mao years, conformity was the norm. Now the powers-that-be want to transform the citizens into quiet, obedient consumers. Films such as Single Man, High Life or Fortune Teller outline the gap between these grand plans and the way people live, point out the heightened contradictions of modernisation. Whether they resort to fictionalisation or experimental techniques, they manage to capture something of this reality that Lacan perceived as left over between the symbolic (the laws) and the imaginary (the utopias of socialism or free market).

Read Reynaud’s complete festival report at Senses of Cinema.

Free 6th Generation Screenings and Symposium in Rochester

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Thomas Mao (dir. Zhu Wen)

The Rochester Institute of Technology has kicked off a multi-week series of free screenings in Rochester of Sixth Generation Chinese films. The series will continue through the weekend of October 7-9, culminating with a series of panel discussions with leading Chinese cinema experts. The final panel, “What is the Future of Chinese cinema?” will include 6th Generation filmmaker Zhu Wen and will be moderated by dGenerate Films’ Kevin Lee.

Here’s the full press release and schedule, courtesy of Rochester Institute of Technology:

Independent filmmakers from mainland China, whose films have won at Cannes, Berlin and Tribeca Film Festivals, premiere their work in Rochester starting Tuesday, Sept. 21.

With the support of the New York Council for the Humanities, Rochester Institute of Technology will be hosting a series of film screenings culminating with a two-day symposium featuring writers and scholars of Chinese cinema. Among the guests will be acclaimed filmmaker and author Zhu Wen who has been intimately involved in the tight Beijing filmmaking community that has given rise to many of the most famous Sixth Generation films. The Oct. 8 and 9 symposium will look at issues surrounding new Chinese cinema. All events are free and open to the public. To learn more, visit

“In the United States, there are only a handful of writers and even less filmmakers that have any real knowledge of these wonderful films, mainly because they are screened only at festivals and aren’t all distributed,” says Geoffrey Alan Rhodes, professor in RIT’s School of Film and Animation. “Yet these filmmakers are some of the freshest voices in contemporary media – filmmakers making films for arts’ sake – censored, almost completely underground and without any legal public venue for national distribution.”

The following are the film screenings: