I’ve Got a Little Problem review

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Jenn Marie Nunes’ review of the documentary film I’ve Got a Little Problem (我有一个忧郁的, 小问题, 2018), by Zhang Ximing 张溪溟. The film documents the life and work of photographer/poet Ren Hang 任航, who committed suicide in 2017. The essay has too many images and video clips to post here. Readers can find it online at:  http://u.osu.edu/mclc/online-series/nunes/. Our thanks to Cinema Guild, I’ve Got a Little Problem‘s distributor, for allowing us to use clips from the film.

Enjoy, Kirk Denton, editor

Fan Bingbing has vanished

Source: Time (9/17/18)
China’s Leading Actress Fan Bingbing Has Vanished. Here’s What to Know

In past years, actress Fan Bingbing was a regular presence on film festival red carpets and fashion catwalks from Barcelona to Busan. And then, suddenly, she wasn’t.

Film fans are expressing alarm at Fan’s disquieting recent disappearance from public life: she was last seen on July 1, while visiting a children’s hospital. Her account on China’s popular Sina Weibo social media network, where she has 63 million followers, has been silent since July 23.

Speculation is linking the disappearance of Fan, one of cinema’s top-earners, to an alleged tax evasion scandal at a time when China’s state-controlled film industry is cutting back on bloated budgets and star-driven blockbusters. Continue reading

Crazy Rich Asians may not fly in China

Source: NYT (9/6/18)
‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Has Soared, but It May Not Fly in China
阅读简体中文版 | 閱讀繁體中文版
By Amy Qin

“Crazy Rich Asians” does not yet have a release date in China. Under China’s strict quota system, a limited number of foreign films are approved for import every year and some experts are skeptical about the movie’s chances there.CreditCreditSanja Bucko/Warner Bros. Entertainment, via Associated Press 

HONG KONG — “Crazy Rich Asians,” the first major Hollywood studio release in 25 years with an all-Asian cast, has been hailed as a breakthrough in the United States, one that has topped the North American box office three weekends running. It has been dominating in other markets with large ethnic Chinese populations as well, including Taiwan and Singapore, where the film is set.

With its cast of mostly ethnic Chinese characters, a soundtrack featuring a number of Chinese artists and story notes that emphasize Chinese culture, it would also seem assured of success in China, the world’s second-largest film market, which is playing a growing role in Hollywood’s calculations. The movie even opens with a quote from Napoleon: “China is a sleeping giant. Let her sleep, for when she wakes she will move the world.” Continue reading

Zhang Yimou’s “Shadow” stuns Venice audience

Source: China.org.cn (9/9/18)
Beauty of Zhang Yimou’s ‘Shadow’ stuns audience in Venice
By Zhang Rui

Director Zhang Yimou receives and holds the Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker prize awarded to him ahead of the world premiere of “Shadow” during 75th Venice International Film Festival in Venice, Italy, Sept. 6, 2018. [Photo courtesy of Le Chuang Entertainment]

The world premiere of renowned Chinese director Zhang Yimou’s new period historical epic “Shadow” was held on Thursday at the 75th Venice International Film Festival and the oriental aesthetics that are a great feature of the film wowed the audience.

Zhang appeared at the red-carpet event with cast members Zheng Kai, Wang Qianyuan, Hu Jun, Wang Jingchun and Guan Xiaotong. Continue reading

HK cinema MOOC

The “rerun” of Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Hong Kong cinema will begin on 11 September 2018 (Tuesday). This is a great opportunity for you to understand Hong Kong cinema’s uniqueness and its continuing impact in transforming other national cinemas.

MOOC description

This pioneering online experience is under the direction of internationally-recognized film studies scholars Professor Gina Marchetti and Dr. Aaron Han Joon Magnan-Park from the HKU Department of Comparative Literature and Dr. Stacilee Ford from the HKU Department of History and American Studies Program with the creative assistance of HKU Technology-Enriched Learning Initiative (TELI).

The course explores globalization through Hong Kong cinema featuring crisp analyses of the actors and filmmakers whose lives and films connect the local Hong Kong scene to global histories, events, and trends. Throughout the six-week course, students will encounter stars including Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, and Maggie Cheung as well as award-winning directors such as John Woo, Mabel Cheung, Andrew Lau, and Wong Kar Wai. Each week a new film showcases talents, themes, and local-global connections. Continue reading

Ideas and History in China’s Independent Cinema

I’m pleased to announce publication of my book Postsocialist Conditions: Ideas and History in China’s “Independent Cinema,” 1988-2008 (472 pp.) by Brill. This book offers a comprehensive survey and trenchant critique of China’s “Independent Cinema” by the sixth-generation auteurs. By showing the multi-valence of the postsocialist conditions in contemporary Chinese society, their films articulate a new cultural-political logic in postsocialist China, which is also the logic of the market in this era of neoliberal transformation, brought about by the forces of marketization since the late 1980s. The directors laudably show the spirits of humanism and the humanitarian concerns of the underclass, yet the shortage and repudiation of class analysis prohibits the artists from exploring the social contradictions and the cause of class restructuration.–Xiaoping Wang <wxping75@163.com> Continue reading

“Rise of Phoenixes” on Netflix

Source: Variety (8/29/18)
Netflix to Fly With China’s ‘Rise of Phoenixes’


Global streaming giant Netflix has boarded Mandarin-language series “Rise of Phoenixes,” from China’s Croton Media. It will be available on the platform outside China from Sept. 14. “Phoenixes” is a 70-episode series loosely based on “Huang Quan,” a novel by Tianxia Guiyuan, and co-produced by Netflix along with Croton Media (China Syndication), K. Pictures, Hao Mai Culture, iQIYI, COL Group and New Film Association.

It marks the small-screen debut of actress Ni Ni and co-stars Chun Kun. Other notables include Shen Yan and Liu Haibo (“Chinese Style Relationship”) as directors, and William Chang Suk-ping (“The Grandmaster,” “In the Mood for Love,”) as artistic director and costume designer. Continue reading

Jia Zhangke discusses “Ash Is Purest White”

Source: Global Times (8/30/18)
Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke talks about ‘Ash is Purest White’ and the evolution of his career
By Wei Xi

Jia Zhangke Photo: Li Hao/ GT

In a way Chinese director Jia Zhangke has made himself a symbol for Chinese movies today, or at least a particular genre within them.

The Shanxi Province-born filmmaker started from humble beginnings working on “underworld” independent projects not approved by mainstream studios. Now, two decades later, he is seen as a heroic figure whose art house films can stand out in a market dominated by commercial films.

Changes in the market and with the director himself have enabled this to happen. Chinese movie audiences are more willing to spend money to see a wider range of works, while Jia, as most people do as they age, has learned to balance his vision for a film and market demands as well as becoming more experienced in dealing with government bureaucracy. Continue reading

Angels Wear White

List members might be interested in my review of ANGELS WEAR WHITE (嘉年华, Vivian Qu, 2017) for CINEASTE magazine. I analyzed the film as a cruel coming-of-age story in which girls are coerced into a femininity of objectification and victimization, and discussed the film’s use of the tropes of neo-noir and its avoidance of melodrama. Many thanks for your advice or comment!



Lux Chen

Xu Bing’s Dragonfly Eyes

This Monday, August 27, MEMORY will be hosting a rare screening of Xu Bing’s Dragonfly Eyes at the Downtown Independent in Los Angeles, CA. More information can be found at this web site and this Facebook event page  I have attached a square image and a press release for your convenience.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions – I would be happy to provide any additional information.



Eliza Moley memory.is • 2039181165

An Elephant Sitting Still

Hu Bo’s 胡波 film An Elephant Sitting Still (大象席地而坐) will be screened at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 6. See details below.–Kirk

Source: TIFF https://www.tiff.net/tiff/an-elephant-sitting-still/
An Elephant Sitting Still (Da Xiang Xi Di Er Zuo), by Hu Bo
China, 2018, STC, 234 minutes
Canadian Premiere

Over the course of a single, suspenseful day, the troubled lives of four desperate people unfold in this resonant film about the human condition — director Hu Bo’s first and, tragically, final feature.

A restless camera stalks lives scarred by indifference, violence, and despair amid the frozen post-industrial decay of an anonymous city somewhere in northern China. It spins a wrenching tale of rage and beauty in Hu Bo’s magnificent debut film. Continue reading

Writing Beijing review

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Lena Scheen’s review of Writing Beijing: Urban Spaces and Cultural Imaginaries in Contemporary Chinese Literature and Films (Lexington Books, 2016), by Yiran Zheng. The review appears below and and at: http://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/lena-scheen/. My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, MCLC literary studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk Denton, editor

Writing Beijing: Urban Spaces and Cultural Imaginations
in Contemporary Chinese Literature and Films

By Yiran Zheng

Reviewed by Lena Scheen
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright August, 2018)

Yiran Zheng, Writing Beijing: Urban Spaces and Cultural Imaginations in Contemporary Literature and Film Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2016. v-xviii + 149 pp. ISBN: Hardback 978-1-4985-3101-6 • $79.00; ISBN: Paperback 978-1-4985-3103-0 • $42.99; ISBN: eBook 978-1-4985-3102-3  • $40.50

It was a map of Beijing that sparked Yiran Zheng’s interest in the subject for her book Writing Beijing: Urban Spaces and Cultural Imaginations in Contemporary Literature and Film. Looking at the city’s distinctive spatial structure of “square-like loops” (x), formed by its major ring roads, she noticed how one can read the history of the city in its architectural shape; from its centermost area, still largely consisting of narrow alleyways (胡同) lined with traditional Beijing-style courtyard houses (四合院), through the three- to four-story Soviet-style apartment blocks built from the 1950s to the 1970s (between the 2nd and 3rd ring roads), to the modern high rises that have sprung up since the 1980s (between the 3rd and 4th ring roads), and the recently built townhouses and single-family houses (outside the 4th ring road). In Writing Beijing, Zheng takes three of the city’s representative urban spaces—courtyard houses, military compounds, and (post)modern architecture—as the basis of the book’s three-part structure. Each part itself consists of three chapters. The first chapters of each part (chapters 1, 4, 7) investigate particular buildings and architecture as “representations of space” and analyze how they “reflect, embody, and implement power relations, such as power of the state and power between different social groups” (xii). The second chapters (2, 5, 8) discuss representative writers and filmmakers whose work either prominently features the particular space or reflects how residing there influenced them. The third and final chapters of each part (3, 6, 9) analyze literary representations of these urban forms in novels and films, “namely, how the city is perceived and presented in literature and film, as well as why they choose particular spaces to carry their imaginations” (xii). Continue reading

Journal of Chinese Cinemas 12.2

Issue 12.2 of Journal of Chinese Cinemas is out!

We are glad to announce that the latest issue of Journal of Chinese Cinemas has just been published online. The print edition will follow shortly. Special thanks to Xinyu Dong and Jonathan Rosenbaum for editing this special issue, titled “Comedy Mutations”! This is also the first of a number of special issues in which the journal collaborates with non-China film scholars, in this case the eminent critic and cinephile Jonathan Rosenbaum.

Yomi Braester and Weihong Bao, editors-in-chief

Table of Contents:
Editorial – Xinyu Dong and Jonathan Rosenbaum
“Eulogistic Comedy as Domestic Soft Power: Biopolitical Self-Fashioning in It’s My Day Off (1959),” by Yingjin Zhang
“Two fools: Comedy as Dialectical Tension in Mid-Century Chinese Cinemas,” by Evelyn Shih
A Chinese Ghost Story : A Hong Kong Comedy Film’s Cult Following in Mainland China,” by Hongjian Wang
“Black Comedy Films in Postsocialist China: Case study of Ning Hao’s Crazy Series,” by Hui Liu
“Taiwanese Comedies under the Shadow of the Chinese Market,” by James Udden
“Comedy mutations: a dialogue,” by Xinyu Dong and Jonathan Rosenbaum

Posted by: Yomi Braester <yomibr@gmail.com>

Crazy Rich Asians

Source: NYT (8/8/18)
‘Crazy Rich Asians’: Why Did It Take So Long to See a Cast Like This?
By Robert Ito

From left, the “Crazy Rich Asians” director Jon M. Chu and his cast: Ken Jeong, Awkwafina, Constance Wu, Gemma Chan, Michelle Yeoh and Henry Golding.CreditRozette Rago for The New York Times

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — In January 2017, the director Jon M. Chu announced an open casting call for Asian and Asian-American actors for his movie adaptation of “Crazy Rich Asians.” Recorded in the kitchen of his West Hollywood home (you can see his fridge in the background), the online plea instructed anyone interested in joining his all-Asian cast, from aspiring actors to “cool personalities with hidden talents,” to post a two-minute video of themselves on social media. “We are looking for you,” he beamed. Continue reading

SCMS 2019 panel–cfp

Temporality and Transportability in Contemporary Cinema – Society for Cinema and Media Studies 2019 Panel

Moving images are an evocative site for inquiries into various modes of articulations; however, these inquiries have largely detailed its cinematic borders without further exploration of alternative expressions of the medium. This panel delves into the ephemeral space that emerges in moments where expressions and experiences of cinema make meaning while breaking and shifting boundaries of time, space, sound, and image. It speculates on how contemporary moving images have become portals for moving and fracturing the boundaries of cinematic temporalities. We invite contributions that pay specific attention to works that address:

  • Notions of temporality and/or transportability through the lens of spectatorship and/or embodied experience
  • Alternative modes of expressions and experiences of cinematic temporalities

Papers that engage with the following themes are especially welcomed:

  • Cross-platform practices among audio-visual works
  • Sinophone cinema, culture, and politics

Please include in your proposal: Paper title (up to 120 characters), abstract (up to 2500 characters), a list of 2-3 source bibliography, and a brief author bio (up to 500 characters). Please email your proposal to Ellen Chang at eychang@uw.edu by 11:50 p.m. EST on Wednesday, August 15th, 2018.