China

Shumin Liu – Jia AKA The Family (2015)

Liu and Deng are a couple both in their 70s who have been married for nearly half a century and lived in a small inland city of China. The family of Liu and Deng is a typical ordinary family of China. The eldest daughter Liqin, divorced with a teenage son, lives with them. The second daughter Xiaomin and youngest son Xujun live in far away cities, married and with their own families. They are also too busy to visit the parents, therefore the old couple decide to travel a long way to visit them. It will be a special journey where they will do everything they can to keep the family tied together despite the distance, being the family their sole purpose in life. Read More »

Zhangke Jia – Gong gong chang suo aka in public (2001)

Quote:
sensesofcinema article :
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(…)the 1990s have witnessed the unprecedented development and modernization of the South Korean film industry, encouraged by multi-faceted efforts from the government. The creation of the Chonju/Jeonju Film Festival in 2000 matched the desire of involving South Korea in a cutting edge international film culture. In addition to homages to Asian (Hou Hsiao-hsien) or European (Chantal Akerman) auteurs, the Festival hosted a number of events devoted to digital filmmaking(…) Read More »

Pema Tseden – Lhing vjags kyi ma ni rdo vbum AKA The Silent Holy Stones (2005)

From the Buddhist Film Foundation’s website:
Pema Tseden (The Search, Old Dog) is the first Tibetan graduate of the Beijing Film Academy, and this is his dramatic feature debut. Made on location in a village in the Amdo region, the film follows a young lama assigned for Tibetan New Year to attend to the seven-year-old Living Buddha (tulku) of a mountain monastery. The young lamas try to balance their strict training with explorations of the outside world through the novelty of television, and make some surprising choices. Like all great neo-realist films, The Silent Holy Stones has the immediacy of a documentary, and Tseden delivers a compelling and intimate insider’s view of everyday life in his home town. Read More »

Zhangke Jia – Xiaoshan huijia AKA Xiao Shan Going Home (1995)

Xiao Shan, a temporary worker at the Hongyuan Restaurant, has just been fired by his boss Zhao Guoqing. Deciding to leave Beijing and returns to his home in Anyang, he goes to see a series of people from his hometown who have also been living in Beijing -construction workers, train ticket scalpers, university students, attendant, prostitutes- but no one wants to go back with him. Dispirited and confused, he searches out one after another of his old friends who are still in Beijing. Finally he leaves his wild long hair, the symbol of his life in the city, at a roadside barber stand as his offering to Beijing. Seoul Independent Film Festival Read More »

Yimou Zhang – Hong gao liang AKA Red Sorghum [91min edit] (1988)

Quote:

Celebrated Mainland filmmaker Zhang Yimou brings his inimitable touch to Red Sorghum, a sumptuous drama set during 1930s China, just prior to the Japanese occupation. Jiu’er (Gong Li) is a young bride arranged to marry the leprous owner of a sorghum winery. But the leper dies, and Jiu’er takes over the winery, along with her lover (Jiang Wen), a burly rogue with a natural, rough charisma. Their rural lives are filled with struggle and even joy, but the invasion of the Japanese brings tragedy and blood to their doorsteps. Told in glorious shades of red, Red Sorghum is quintessential Zhang Yimou, and uses setting, cinematography, and stunning imagery to create characters and mood that are both iconic and recognizable. Gong Li and Jiang Wen both turn in revelatory performances. As both an anti-war film and a portrait of pre-Communist Chinese life, Red Sorghum is a compelling, powerful achievement from a true master of cinema. Read More »

Zhuangzhuang Tian – Lie chang zha sha AKA On The Hunting Ground (1984)

Tian Zhuangzhuang is perhaps the best known of [the Fifth Generation] for reviving and revitalizing a staple of the Chinese film industry — the “national minority” genre. Made to celebrate the solidarity of the Chinese people under the Communist regime, these films, often made by studios based in the minority areas themselves, showcased the songs, dances, customs, and patriotism of the non-Han community. Stories of liberation, they usually contrast the “backwardness” of traditional life before the Revolution with the benefits of Chinese Communist rule. Read More »

Cong Feng – Dr. Ma’s Country Clinic (2008)

Synopsis:
In the arid mountains of the remote and inaccessible Huangyangchuan, Gansu Province, a simple small countryside clinic welcomes the local sick and injured. Ma Bingcheng is a respected country doctor. Thanks to his good medical skills, day after day his waiting room is filled with patients wanting to consult him or get a prescription. His cramped country clinic is an open space where information and personal experiences intertwine, offering the audience a rare dissecting view of the lives and living conditions of the local farmers. Read More »