Bing Wang – Caiyou riji (pt. 1b) AKA Crude Oil (pt. 1b) (2008)

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Quote:
“In the film-festival catalogues of Rotterdam and Hong Kong, it says that Wang Bing was filming on a plateau in the Gobi Desert, but in reality he had to move to a different mountainous region about 500 kilometers away, a journey on unmade snow-covered roads. The terrain that now plays the leading role in the film is in the province of Qinghai, a similar landscape to that of the neighboring province of Tibet (which of course is not regarded by everyone as a province). A high, empty, rough, windy, and desolate landscape. Yes, making films can still be adventurous. The filmmaker found that out at first hand. He started to have altitude sickness at the high oil installation. Continue reading

Bing Wang – Caiyou riji (pt. 1a) AKA Crude Oil (pt. 1a) (2008)

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Quote:
In the film-festival catalogues of Rotterdam and Hong Kong, it says that Wang Bing was filming on a plateau in the Gobi Desert, but in reality he had to move to a different mountainous region about 500 kilometers away, a journey on unmade snow-covered roads. The terrain that now plays the leading role in the film is in the province of Qinghai, a similar landscape to that of the neighboring province of Tibet (which of course is not regarded by everyone as a province). A high, empty, rough, windy, and desolate landscape. Yes, making films can still be adventurous. The filmmaker found that out at first hand. He started to have altitude sickness at the high oil installation. Continue reading

Haolun Shu – No. 89 Shimen Road [+Extra] (2010)

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Quote:
In the late 1980’s Shanghai, a 16 year-old boy, Xiaoli, comes of age surrounded by his neighbors and grandfather. His best friend is a girl named Lanmi, a couple years older than him. But Lanmi slowly drifts away from him, lured by the new opportunities which come as China opens up to foreign goods and businessmen. At the same time, the 1989 events force Xiaoli to grow up and to let go of his teenage dreams. A film that poignantly depicts the struggle of a country confronted with a new order. It is also a personal and touching view of a world that no longer exist. Continue reading

Bing Wang – Fu yu zi AKA Father and Sons (2014)

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Synopsis:
“In 2011, Cai took his two sons to his workplace, a factory in Fuming, where he worked as a stone caster, and found a school for them. Ever since, they have been living in a hut owned by the factory, with only one bed. We began filming their life on February 2nd 2014. On the morning of the 6th, we received threats from the boss and had to stop filming.” Continue reading

Kaige Chen – Jing Ke ci Qin Wang AKA The Emperor and the Assassin [+extra] (1998)

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Synopsis:
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

Kaige Chen – Da yue bing AKA The Big Parade (1986)

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Synopsis:
Army volunteers train for places in China’s 1984 National Day parade, where they are expected to be a perfect marching unit.

Review:
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

Yang Chao – Chang jiang tu AKA Crosscurrent (2016)

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Quote:
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