Source: SCMP (7/3/19)
A City Called Macau film review: Bai Baihe in tale of misplaced affection and gambling addiction
Film suffers from the fact that, while its three lead actors give credible performances, none of their characters is sympathetic enough to carry its story. The tale of a casino broker who funds wealthy gamblers but drops her guard when she falls for an artist turned gaming addict requires a suspension of disbelief
By Edmund Lee
Bai Baihe in a still from A City Called Macau (category IIA; Mandarin, Cantonese), directed by Li Shaohong. Wu Gangand Huang Jue co-star.
A City Called Macau [媽閣是座城] is a glossy, episodic tale of misplaced affection and gambling addiction set in the Chinese casino city between the early 2000s and 2014, when China’s anti-corruption campaign put a halt to the ferocious growth in its gaming revenue.
The first film since 2007’s The Door by Li Shaohong, one of China’s Fifth Generation directors, who is best known for Bloody Morning, it is an adaptation of Yan Geling’s 2012 novel of the same name. Yan wrote the script with the help of two other writers, Lu Wei and Chan Man-keung. Continue reading
CALL FOR PAPERS
ASIAN WOMEN FILMMAKERS ON GLOBAL SCREENS: Networks, Circuits, and Community Connections
March 27 and 28, 2020
Center for the Study of Globalization and Cultures,
Faculty of Arts, University of Hong Kong
Women filmmakers are severely underrepresented in general film distribution (theatrical and auxiliary), film festivals and awards: a phenomenon that adversely affects the visibility of female filmmakers from Asia. However, there has been little concrete investigation into the mechanisms that underpin the status quo. Through engaging international specialists on women in film, this conference seeks to dissect the system, pinpoint the weak spots and identify a possible remedial course of action toward improving the situation of women filmmakers. The goal of our conversation will not only be to increase knowledge on these matters but to make practical recommendations to the film industry, film festivals, and other institutions. Continue reading
Remembering Writer-director Peng Xiaolian
November 2003, Xiaolian (right) and Louisa (middle) were filming with Komatsu Ran (left) in Keio University, Tokyo Japan.
Film director and writer Peng Xiaolian 彭小莲 passed away on June 19, 2019. Below I share some memories about her.
In May 2003, Shanghai film director Peng Xiaolian called me and asked if I was interested in working on a documentary about the “Hu Feng Counterrevolutionary Clique” case (the PRC’s first large-scale literary persecution). By that point, I had only met her once at the Hong Kong International Film Festival of 2002, but we had been writing to each other for about two years. What’s more important is that I had already read her book about her parents: Their Times (他们的岁月). I agreed to work with her on the documentary almost right away and told her I would start to look for funding. I called her back after just a few hours, because I found that we could apply to the International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam’s script development grant, but we only had one week before the deadline. Xiaolian sent me a story in Chinese the next day, and a day later I came up with a proposal and a working title for the film: Storm under the Sun (红日风暴). I couriered the proposal four days later. At the end of June, we were notified that we were one of the 17 recipients of funding out of 180 applicants, though it was only 4000 euros. In July, we started filming in Shanghai. We got a fast start indeed. The path of my life as an assistant professor suddenly changed. Continue reading
Source: ACAS (6/24/19)
Queering an Icon, Becoming a Demon: A Review of White Snake: Origins
By Liang Luo
The 2019 animated film White Snake: Origins (Baishe yuanqi), co-produced by Beijing-based Light Chaser Animation and Warner Bros., premiered on January 11 throughout China. It opens with an innovative, hybrid style of ink-painting 3D animation. In the one-minute opening sequence, two snakes who have transformed into beautiful women, White Snake and Green Snake, and their surrounding environment are outlined in charming ink brush strokes. This distinctive aesthetic style is reminiscent of traditional landscape paintings as seen in China, Japan, Korea, and India, as well as in Mizoguchi Kenji’s reinvention of this style in the 1953 live action film Tale of Moonlight and Rain (Ugetsu), one of the first postwar Japanese films with a “White Snake” theme. Continue reading
Source: SCMP (6/17/19)
Why the first Chinese Imax war film The Eight Hundred was pulled from Shanghai film festival
By Elaine Yao
The film, telling the story of the defence of the Sihang Warehouse against the Japanese army, was cancelled for ‘technical reasons’. The cancellation led to online anger with some saying the film was cancelled for glorifying the Chinese Nationalist army.
Wang Qianyuan (top) and Zhang Junyi in The Eight Hundred, a film about the Battle of Shanghai which was pulled from the Shanghai International Film Festival.
The official release date of China-produced World War II epic The Eight Hundred is in the balance after its world premiere at the 22nd Shanghai International Film Festival was cancelled. The decision came to light one day before the opening of the festival, which runs from June 15 to June 24.
The official Weibo account of the film said the premiere, scheduled for its opening day, was cancelled due to technical reasons. A series of promotional events planned for the film at the festival were also cancelled. They included a screening on Tuesday at Tongji University in Shanghai, and sessions at which cast and crew members were to meet the media and public in Shanghai. Continue reading
Special Issue of Screen Bodies (5.2, December 2020): Queer Sinofuturisms
CALL FOR PAPERS
Guest Editors: Ari Heinrich, University of California, San Diego; Howard Chiang, University of California, Davis; and Ta-wei Chi, National Chengchi University
This special issue on “Queer Sinofuturisms” aims to explore how artists, writers, and videographers working in Sinophone contexts use science to envision non-normative gender and erotic expressions in relation to the corporeal future of humanity. By investigating visions of the future that incorporate queerness and creative applications of biotechnology, “Queer Sinofuturisms” on one hand aims to counter pervasive techno-orientalist discourses that frame “Asian” technological futures as strictly dystopian (and straight by default). On the other, it responds to a heteronormative presumption in the recent vogue for Chinese science fiction in translation: While many of these outstanding works challenge readers to reassess real world problems like neoliberal economic inequalities and environmental devastation, certain heteronormative values tend to remain unquestioned both in content and in reception, a structural limit on our capacity to envision genuinely innovative social formations for the “future.” What happens, this issue of Screen Bodies asks, if we simultaneously destabilize techno-orientalist narratives of the future while queering assumptions about the heteronormativity so often inscribed upon that future in mainstream iterations and embodiments? Continue reading
MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Christopher Rea’s translation of the film script of Long Live the Missus! (太太萬歲; 1947). The translation can be found through the link below. Also included is a subtitled video of the film using that translation.
Kirk Denton, editor
Have seen certain backdrops for the 1988 version of Red Sorghum in a movie city near Yinchuan, capital of Ningxia. Hope that is still intact.–Lily Lee <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Ex-position Feature Topic Call for Papers
(Guest Editor: Kenny Kwok Kwan Ng, Hong Kong Baptist University)
Publication Date: December 2019 (Issue No. 42)
Submission Deadline: July 1, 2019
“Independent cinema” in Hong Kong has gained much currency both in academia and in film production and reception circles since the 1997 handover. Despite the fact that the term itself is frequently invoked in critical discourse and film festival programming, the meanings and contours of independent cinema as it is practiced in Hong Kong remain a matter of debate, except for the general consensus that being “independent” in moviemaking confers a disposition of distancing from the mainstream film industry in terms of styles, genres, modes of production and exhibition, financing, or public reception. Independent filmmakers can be bona fide auteurs who have greater control over the subject matter and stylistic choices of their works compared with their mainstream counterparts. Still, creative autonomy is never absolute and always comes with a cost. Filmmakers have to play by the rules of the emerging habitus of independent cinema, while the dynamic and ambivalent exchanges between independent and mainstream cinema are constantly at play in Hong Kong when an independent filmmaker (or film) enters mainstream production and circulation. Continue reading
Source: China Daily (4/5/19)
Filmmaker sees sector develop a new story
By Xu Wei | China Daily
Focusing the camera on people’s issues and giving them a voice mark NPC deputy’s creative approach to plotlines
Jia Zhangke, a key figure in China’s “sixth generation” of filmmakers, attends the launch event for his film Mountains May Depart, Still Life, with his wife and lead actress Zhao Tao. [Photo provided to China Daily]
For Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke, the role of a deputy to the National People’s Congress has given him a wider horizon, and an even deeper understanding of people and society.
Jia, an essential figure in China’s “sixth generation” of filmmakers and one of the country’s most inventive and engaged directors, has also found similarities between filmmaking and working as a lawmaker.
A native of Linfen, Shanxi province, Jia has long concerned himself with the effect of enormous social and economic forces on the experiences of individuals. Continue reading
Source: Global Times (3/21/19)
Chen Kaige’s new film project ‘Me and My Motherland’ to celebrate PRC’s 70th anniversary
From left: Chinese filmmakers Wen Muye, Xue Xiaolu, Zhang Yibai, Chen Kaige, Huang Jianxin, Guan Hu and Ning Hao pose for a photo at a media event for Me and My Motherland in Beijing on Wednesday. Photo: Liu Zhongyin/GT
“Back in 2008, my mother called me to ask if I was involved in preparations for the Beijing Olympic Games Opening Ceremony. I wasn’t then, but this time I can confidently say that I will be responsible right from start for producing Me and My Motherland,” Chinese director Zhang Yibai said at a press conference in Beijing on Wednesday announcing his new film project.
Zhang, however, will not be alone. He is one of seven directors that will work on the film, an anthology that will tell different stories about ordinary Chinese during major historical moments since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, which will celebrate its 70th anniversary on October 1. Continue reading
Source: China Daily (3/14/19)
Fantasy novel about antiques becomes hit online series
By XU FAN
A poster from the online series The Golden Eyes. [Photo provided to China Daily]
When veteran producer Bai Yicong occasionally “clicked” on a fantasy novel online in 2010, he could scarcely have thought that it would one day become one of his biggest-budget productions.
The work of fiction, titled Huangjin Yan, or The Golden Eyes, follows the adventures of a young pawnshop employee, who possesses the power to be able to see the past and future of every object he sees after his eyes are injured by a group of robbers.
Thus the protagonist becomes a legend in the antique world and an easy winner in gambling on stones, the practice of buying a raw rock and then cutting it open, with the hope of it holding some gems.
The story, penned by online writer Tang Yong, better known by his pseudonym Dayan, has accumulated more than 30 million views since its debut on China’s largest internet literature site Qidian in 2010.
“I was deeply attracted by the novel. It has a lot of riveting depictions about underground adventures, enriching my knowledge about antiques,” says Bai, sitting in his office located in eastern Beijing. Continue reading
Source: SCMP (3/12/19)
How China’s Fifth Generation filmmakers defied censorship and criticism to break new ground
New ways of storytelling and rich political allegories were the innovations that this new breed of maverick directors introduced. Bold in abstraction and symbolism, their films relied on images rather than dialogue for expression
By Richard James Havis
A still from Zhang Yimou’s directorial debut Red Sorghum (1988).
It has been 41 years since China’s Fifth Generation filmmakers started classes at the Beijing Film Academy, and 35 years since The Yellow Earth, directed by Chen Kaige and photographed by Zhang Yimou, changed the face of filmmaking in the country.
The Chinese film industry has modernised so quickly that the innovations this disparate group brought to filmmaking in the country, and the courage they showed in the face of censorship by the state authorities, has been all but forgotten.
A retrospective at this year’s Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF) aims to set the record straight. The five-film retrospective presents classic early works by the Fifth Generation, including The Yellow Earth, Tian Zhuangzhuang’s semi-abstract masterpiece The Horse Thief, and the cheeky satirical comedy The Black Cannon Incident. Continue reading
Source: ChinaFile (3/8/19)
Here’s How the Trade War Is Affecting Hollywood
By Ying Zhu
(China Photos/Getty Images) An audience watches a 3D movie at an IMAX theater in Wuhan, Hubei province, February 8, 2007.
In February 2017, the United States and China began renegotiating the five-year film pact that had limited the annual number of foreign film exports to China to 34 and the share of revenue payable to foreign-rights holders to 25 percent of gross box office. Hollywood wanted an increase in revenue-sharing films, a higher share of box-office receipts, and more access to key viewing windows in China’s ever-expanding film market. In January 2018, Beijing agreed to discuss “policies and practices that may impede the U.S. film industry’s access to China’s market,” and in April Chinese negotiators reportedly offered to raise annual quotas. But then the talks stalled amidst the contentious U.S.-China trade negotiations. And now, the same trade dynamics affecting products as diverse as soybeans and auto parts have hit Hollywood. Continue reading
My monograph, Animated Encounters: Transnational Movements of Chinese Animation 1940s-1970s, is in print now. Thank you all for providing me with the much-needed community support over the past 11 years!
For the table of contents, abstract, and preview, please see https://www.amazon.com/Animated-Encounters-Transnational-Movements-1940s-1970s/dp/0824877640
Hope to see some of you soon at the annual conference of AAS in Denver!
Daisy Yan Du <email@example.com>