China

Yimou Zhang – Yi ge dou bu neng shao AKA Not One Less (1999)

Quote:
In a remote mountain village, the teacher must leave for a month, and the mayor can find only a 13-year old girl, Wei Minzhi, to substitute. The teacher leaves one stick of chalk for each day and promises her an extra 10 yuan if there’s not one less student when he returns. Within days, poverty forces the class troublemaker, Zhang Huike, to leave for the city to work. Minzhi, possessed of a stubborn streak, determines to bring him back. She enlists the 26 remaining pupils in earning money for her trip. She hitches to Jiangjiakou City and begins her search. The boy, meanwhile, is there, lost and begging for food. Minzhi’s stubbornness may be Huike and the village school’s salvation. Read More »

Wen Jiang – Guizi lai le AKA Devils on the Doorstep (2000)

Stephen Holden in the New York Times wrote:
[The film] belongs to that rarefied breed of antiwar movie that adopts a lofty satirical distance from its characters’ plight. By turns farcical and horrifying, it scrupulously avoids plucking heartstrings to portray the soldiers and peasants alike as paranoid fools buffeted by the shifting winds of war…While acknowledging that war is hell, it goes further to suggest it is ludicrous. Read More »

Zhuangzhuang Tian – Cha ma gu dao xi lie AKA Delamu (2004)

Imdb:
Delamu ¨C Tibetan for “Peace Angel”. Since ancient times, China’s two primary land routes connecting it to the outside world have been the Silk Road in the north, and Tea Horse-Road in the south. The mountain village of Bingzhongluo-Tibetan for “Village of Tibetans” is located on the high plateau of western Yunnan Province, at the foot of Gaoligong Mountain. Traveling along the Nujiang River, one can reach the southern Tibetan border town of Chawalong-Tibetan for “Valley of Dry Heat.” But with no roads connecting the two places, since ancient times the transport of all goods and supplies has relied entirely on horse caravans. The journey of more than 90 kilometers zigzags through high mountain slopes, dense forests, gorges and wastelands. Read More »

Ye Lou – Suzhou he aka Suzhou River (2000)

Plot Summary:
The river Suzhou that flows through Shanghai is a reservoir of filth, chaos and poverty, but also a meeting place for memories and secrets. Lou Ye, who spent his youth on the banks of the Suzhou, shows the river as a Chinese Styx, in which forgotten stories and mysteries come together. Mardar, a motorcycle courier in his mid-twenties, rides all over the city with all kinds of packages for his clients. He knows every inch and is successful thanks to the fact that he never asks questions. One day he is asked by a shady alcohol smuggler to deliver his sixteen-year-old daughter, Moudan, to her aunt. Read More »

Ke Guo – San Shi Er aka Thirty Two (2013)

Quote:
Guo Ke follows his multiple-award winning short Thirty Two with the searching and highly moving documentary Twenty Two, which again focuses on the subject of Chinese ‘comfort women’ during World War II.

At the time of filming, only 22 of the 200,000 Chinese victims forced into sexual slavery during World War II remained alive. Through a restrained and careful approach, Twenty Two offers a look at the current situation and lives of these 22 elderly women. Quietly humanistic, the engaging and challenging film follows the subjects as they go about their daily lives, listening to them talk about their experiences and their own perspectives on life, including both suffering and happiness. Read More »

Robin Shouming Weng – Jin bi hui huang AKA Fujian Blue (2007)

Synopsis
In the wake of China’s open-door policy in the early 1980’s, Fujian was one of the first Chinese coastal provinces to be opened to the outside world. Many of the male residents opted to go abroad for work, leaving behind their wives and families. Two decades later, Fujian is a microcosm of Chinese modernity: there are palatial suburbs populated by lonely “remittance widows”; neon-lit discotheques frequented by karaoke kids; coastal villages inhabited by impoverished fishermen and city centers dominated by gangs, snakeheads and language schools acting as fronts for organized human trafficking. Read More »

Zhuangzhuang Tian – Yaogun Qingnian AKA Rock Kids (1988)

Realistic portraits of Chinese youth embracing western culture. Read More »