Set in 221 BC, The Emperor and the Assassin tells of Ying Zheng (Li Xuejian) and his obsession to unite seven Chinese kingdoms and become the first Emperor of China. The film mixes spectacular battle scenes with court intrigue, counterpointed by the King’s complex relationship with the only woman he has truly loved, the Lady Zhao (Gong Li). From protocol-ridden palaces to wide open grasslands, this is a visually striking film, both beautiful and at the same time burdened with the horrors of the period. Continue reading
Army volunteers train for places in China’s 1984 National Day parade, where they are expected to be a perfect marching unit.
Walter Goodman, NYT wrote:
From the impressive overhead shots of troops assembling for a march-past in Beijing’s huge central square on the 35th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, in October 1984, to the final slow-motion close-ups of them parading, the camera of Zhang Yimou commands ”The Big Parade.” The Chinese movie, directed by Chen Kaige and on view tonight at 6 o’clock and tomorrow at 8:30 P.M. as part of the New Directors/New Films festival, holds you by its photography even as you may be getting a bit restless at the Chinese version of the good old American boot-camp movie. Continue reading
In a daze following his father’s sudden death, cargo ship captain Gao Chun falls under the spell of a mysterious book of poetry found hidden in his ship’s engine room, sending the beleaguered captain on an unexpected journey both up the Yangtze River, the very cradle of Chinese civilization, and into the center of his own troubled soul. Guided by the beautiful, enigmatic An Lu, and carrying a mysterious shipment for a ruthless crime lord, Chun’s pilgrimage to the powerful river’s source becomes a sublime, poetic quest to understand man’s relationship to nature, the impulses of love and desire, greed and corruption, and the very nature of faith itself. Filmed in gorgeous 35mm by Mark Lee Ping-Bing (IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE), director Yang Chao’s film melds elements of the classic road movie with a singular aesthetic rooted in ancient Buddhist practice. Featuring an unforgettable sequence in the Three Gorges Dam, CROSSCURRENT is a transcendent voyage into the possibilities of the metaphysical and the realities of flesh and blood. Continue reading
New Hefei was done in the winter of 2007/2008 during a stay in China for several months through a series of photographs and prepared in the spring of 2008 in the provincial capital Hefei in black and white on 16mm shot. Hefei has an extreme economy growth rate and is one of the fastest-growing mega cities of the new China.
The conglomerates from private and state-dominated industry dominated the economic growth and repeated this in the Chinese provincial city. Currently the process of urban transformation has been completed here, as in other urban centers in China. The presentation of new urban areas is an important issue in contemporary Taiwanese and Chinese films.
Basically the whole thing was inspired by Antonionis “La Notte” and “L’eclisse”. So if you know these films, you’ll find something here. Continue reading
An experienced TV drama screenwriter and a professor at the Beijing Film Academy, Zhuang Yuxin makes his debut feature Love Teeth in 2006, winning much applause from critics. Praised as the female version of the award-winning In the Heat of the Sun, Love Teeth also documents the rapid social and economic changes in Mainland China after the disastrous Cultural Revolution. The notions of love, pain, and memory recur when the film unfolds a woman’s history of three romances that all end in physical as well as psychological pain. Officially selected for the Deauville Asian Film Festival 2007 in France, Love Teeth also won the Best Feature at the 14th Beijing Student Film Festival. Continue reading
Docu-drama follows the journey of a group of Tibetans on a pilgrimage to Lasa, the holy capital of Tibet. The journey covers 1,200 km on foot, in a continuous repetition of prostrating one’s self on the ground. Over 10 months, we see the simplicity of human relationships and the nature of family, suffering, and resolve. Continue reading
Beijing, the Seventies. Now that the Cultural Revolution has driven most adults to the provinces, 14-year old Monkey and his pals have free reign over the city. They hang around, get up to no good and discover that unsolvable mystery more commonly referred to as ‘girls’.
In the Heat of the Sun is a beautifully shot semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story where the ostensible nostalgia is undercut by an ironic narrator, who keeps blurring the line between what’s real and what may be imagined (“Wait, maybe it didn’t happen that way,…”). It’s a movie not just about memories, but also about the act of remembering and on how difficult that is, in a city which constantly re-builds itself from the ground up, in a country which constantly rewrites its own history. Continue reading