Yuxin Zhuang – Ai qing de ya chi AKA Teeth of Love (2007)

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Synopsis:
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

Yang Zhang – Kang rinpoche AKA Paths of the Soul (2015)

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Quote:
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

Wen Jiang – Yang guang can lan de ri zi AKA In the Heat of the Sun (1994)

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Quote:
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

Bing Wang – He Fengming aka Fengming: A Chinese Memoir (2007)

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Robert Koehler wrote:
With virtually a single-camera set-up and absolute attention paid to a woman who survived the horrors of Mao’s China, Wang Bing continues his run as one of the world’s supreme doc filmmakers with “Fengming: A Chinese Memoir.” While his extraordinary epic, “West of the Tracks,” traced the destruction of a city’s industrial zone and the forced relocation of thousands of residents, new pic is scaled in opposite fashion–intimate, minimalist, nearly private, as former journalist and teacher He Fengming describes in vividly painful detail how her life in the revolution turned into a 30-year nightmare. Prospects point to specialized treatment at major fests, but vid is where pic will really stand the test of time. Continue reading

Mu Fei – Xiao cheng zhi chun AKA Spring in a Small Town (1948)

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Taking place in a ruined family compound after the war, the film tells the story of the once prosperous Dai family. The husband and patriarch, Dai Liyan is an invalid, and spends his days in the courtyard nostalgic for the past. His marriage to Zhou Yuwen has long been rendered loveless, though both still feel concern for the other. Liyan’s young teenage sister Dai Xiu, meanwhile, is too young to remember the past, and stays cheerful and playful in the ruins of her home. Into this dreary but unchanging existence comes Liyan’s childhood friend Zhang Zhichen, a doctor from Shanghai and a former flame of Zhou Yuwen before she ever met her husband. The rest of the film details Zhou Yuwen’s conflicting emotions between her love for Zhang, and her loyalty to her husband and his family. Continue reading

Zhangke Jia – Zhantai AKA Platform (2000)

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Quote:
Platform opens to an appropriately temporally indeterminate sight of a bustling, crowded backstage of a provincial theater as a group of itinerant performers await the commencement of their traveling cultural education program that equally extols the country’s technological and social progress made possible by the Communist Revolution and celebrates its principal architect, Chairman Mao Zedong. However, a cut to a shot of the company tour bus as the manager provides constructive criticism on the performance of the peasant troupe (apparently caused by inaccurate mimicking of train sounds by some members who have never seen a train in real life) begins to reveal the disparity between their state-commissioned, official message of national modernization and the reality of life in the rural provinces. Continue reading