China

Jinchuan Duan – Barkhor nan jie 16 hao (1996)

No.16, Barkhor Street is an old courtyard in the heart of Lhasa and the site of the office of the Barkhor Neighborhood Committee. This masterful cinema verité documentary, the landmark work in the history of independent documentaries about Tibet, provides is a photographic study of rich insight into the basic workings of government in Tibet as it that follows the local Party Secretary, Deputy Director, Director for Women’s Affairs, and Community Policeman, among others, as they implement official policies and manage neighborhood affairs.
– Maysles Documentary Center Read More »

Yang Zhang – Xiang ri kui AKA Sunflower (2005)

Like Douglas Sirk without the throw pillows, “Sunflower” is a shamelessly old-fashioned melodrama performed with such sincerity that resistance is futile. Following a troubled father-son relationship over more than 30 years in post-Cultural Revolution Beijing, the movie utilizes a simple dramatic structure to support a narrative filled with tumultuous social change. Read More »

Lhapal Gyal – Wang Zha de yuxue AKA Wangdrak’s Rain Boots (2018)

After heavy rains, puddles and mud cover the streets of the Tibetan mountain village. It’s good for the crops, but bad for young Wangdrak, the only boy in the village without rubber boots. While his father is busy with other worries, Wangdrak’s mother fulfills her son’s wish. But new shoes bring new problems. For Wangdrak, a battle against the blue sky and for the rain begins, fought alongside his loyal friend Lhamo. Nestled in the inimitable mountain landscape, director Lhapal Gyal uses vivid imagery to show us a culture steeped in ancient traditions, paying special attention to the young protagonist’s dreams. Read More »

Chunya Chai – Wo guxiang siwang de si zhong fangshi AKA Four Ways to Die in My Hometown (2012)

Journalist-turned-filmmaker Chai Chunya was born in a village in Gansu, the Chinese province adjoining Tibet, and he returned there to shoot this remarkable debut feature. The story he tells is poetic, even fanciful: Ga Gui, a young woman who left to find education and work in the big city, visits her home village because she’s had a premonition that her elderly father is dying. She finds him preparing for death by sleeping in a makeshift coffin but also convinced that he has a mission to revive the community before the exodus of its young turns the place into a ghost town. Chai boldly goes beyond realism in his quest for the Buddhist essence of rural life in Gansu. The ’four ways to die’ are those associated with the elements: the windy air, the red-clay earth, fire, water. The film is chaptered around them as it moves from drama to meditation. Read More »

Xiaogang Gu – Chun Jiang Shui Nuan AKA Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains (2019) (HD)

At her 70th birthday celebration, the aged mother of the Gu family suffers from a stroke, which precipitates her decline into dementia. Who will take care of her? The four brothers face crucial changes in their relationships to one another, as they deal with their own family problems. Read More »

Xiaogang Gu – Chun Jiang Shui Nuan AKA Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains (2019)

At her 70th birthday celebration, the aged mother of the Gu family suffers from a stroke, which precipitates her decline into dementia. Who will take care of her? The four brothers face crucial changes in their relationships to one another, as they deal with their own family problems. Read More »

Sissi Deng – Three Adventures of Brooke (2018)

Quote:
A Chinese girl named Xingxi travels alone to Alor Setar, a town in Northern Malaysia. As the result of a blown tire, she experiences three variant adventures. She introduces herself to people as different identities with mysterious secrets. Brooke claims herself a traveler in the first adventure, but an anthropologist in the second adventure. In the third adventure, Brooke is a disheartened woman who comes across French writer Pierre. Two lonely travelers become intimate friends. They share their respective insights into life, death, and love. As the enigmatic story of Alor Setar begins to unfold, Brooke tells Pierre the true reason why she has come. Nature divulges her sought for love with the magical Blue Tears. Read More »