Where Has Time Gone portmanteau film

Source: China Daily (8/31/17)
Movie coproduced by BRICS countries to be showcased at Xiamen BRICS Summit
By Xu Fan

With the ninth BRICS Summit to open in Xiamen, Fujian province, Where Has Time Gone?, the first movie coproduced by five BRICS countries, will be showcased at the summit, giving an insight of cinematic cultures and customs.

Jia Zhangke, a famous art house director, known for his fancy of Shanxi province-set stories, led the project as the movie’s chief producer. Continue reading

Soft power, hard sell

Source: Chublic Opinion (9/18/17)
Soft Power, Hard Sell

Wolf Warrior

This summer, the Chinese cinema was not short of home-made explosives. Military-themed Chinese movies marked the PLA’s 90th birthday, and thanks to the Domestic Film Protection Month, no Hollywood blockbusters or other foreign movies diverted the attention of Chinese moviegoers.

One such film, The Founding of an Army, was supposed to be the feature of the month. It is based on Party legend about the Aug 1, 1927 military uprising in Nanchang, Jiangxi province that gave birth to the Communist Party’s force which later became the People’s Liberation Army. The movie joined The Founding of a Republic (2009) and The Founding of a Party (2011) as the final piece in the Founding Trilogy dedicated to the Communist Party’s struggle to establish New China in the first half of the 20th century. Apart from its ideological purity, the movie boasts an all-star cast that includes some of the most popular names with the country’s millennials, a sign of the filmmakers’ intention to win the eyes and ears, if not already the hearts and minds, of a younger generation. In today’s China, the second largest film market in the world, the Party’s blessing alone is not sufficient guarantee of box office dominance. The majority of viewers need to be lured, rather than forced, to see a movie. In this regard, ideological purity could be a liability. Continue reading

5th Annual China Women’s Film Fest

Source: The Beijinger (9/11/17)
Socially Conscious Cinema: Fifth Annual China Women’s Film Festival Comes to Beijing, Sep 16-24
By Kyle Mullin

Socially Conscious Cinema: Fifth Annual China Women's Film Festival Comes to Beijing, Sep 16-24

Hollywood hasn’t exactly caught up with the art house and the documentary scene, at least when it comes to nuanced depictions of women’s lives (not to mention proper opportunities behind the camera, equal pay, and many other matters). Thankfully, there are plenty of talented filmmakers endeavoring to slowly but surely reverse that trend as of late, and you can see some of their best work at the fifth annual China Women’s Film Festival. Continue reading

Must-watch fall films

Source: The World of Chinese (9/6/17)
Coming soon: Must-watch Fall films
With just four months left to go, here’s nine of the best upcoming movies in 2017
By Ethan Yun

Wolf Warrior 2 has been the surprise Chinese hit of the year, breaking all sorts of records on its way to becoming China’s highest-grossing film of all time.

But the last quarter of 2017 has two more high-profile periods—National Day and Christmas—meaning other films will be making their own big push for superstardom before the year is out. Here are the nine domestic movies the nation’s cinemagoers are most looking forward to: Continue reading

Inside the China Box Office

Dear Media Friends,

(New York, NY – September 8, 2017) –China Film Insider is partnering with the China Hollywood Society to jointly present our first online event!

“Insider The China Box Office”, a web panel discussing the ins and outs of the China Box Office, will take place on Thursday, September 14 at 11 am PST/2 pm EST online. Industry experts from both the United States and China will discuss the current state of China box office, how it’s different from Hollywood, dollar splits, growth, and how to navigate the Chinese box office as an independent producer.

Our panelists will include Rob Cain, founder of ChinaFilmBiz and writer at Forbes; Jonathan Papish, reporter and writer at China Film Insider; and Yuan Yuan, USC Peter Stark alumnus and independent producer based out of LA and China.

Time: 11 am PST / 2 pm EST
Date: Thursday, September 14, 2017
Where: Online
Ticket: Free
To RSVP: https://goo.gl/forms/NufRJcKFKwwZyRxU2 Continue reading

China will be world’s biggest film market by 2020

Source: China Film Insider (8/31/17)
China Will Be The World’s Biggest Film Market By 2020 Says Media Regulator
The bullish assessment comes as box office hit ‘Wolf Warriors II’ gives the local film industry a welcome shot in the arm.
By Fergus Ryan

China’s rapidly growing film market will surpass that of the US by 2020, says the country’s media regulator.

According to the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT), China’s box office sales are set to reach RMB 55 billion ($8.36 billion) in 2017 alone.

The country has already surpassed North America with more than 444,000 movie screens including more than 38,300 3D screens as of March 2017, the media regulator said. Continue reading

The Ancient Art of Falling Down

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of “The Ancient Art of Falling Down: Vaudeville Cinema between Hollywood and China–A Conversation between Christopher Rea and Henry Jenkins.” The piece has too many images and video clips to post here in full. Find below the opening description. To read it its entirety, go to: http://u.osu.edu/mclc/online-series/rea-jenkins/. I thank the authors for sharing their work with the MCLC community.

Kirk Denton, editor

The Ancient Art of Falling Down
Vaudeville Cinema between Hollywood and China

A Conversation between Christopher Rea and Henry Jenkins

MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright August 2017)


Slapstick performance and trick cinematography dominated early global cinema. People climb into boxes and are tossed around; they jerry-rig all manner of dwellings and conveyances; they leap out of windows, crash through doors, dangle from clock towers, and slide down staircases; they appear and disappear like ghosts. But what did such visual gags look like in films made in Shanghai, as opposed to Los Angeles? How did filmmakers from different cultural traditions share or adapt comic tropes—and which ones? And how did their comedy change with technology, such as the advent of sound cinema, or with politics, war, and revolution?

The following conversation between Henry Jenkins, a media scholar who works primarily on American popular culture, and Christopher Rea, a cultural historian of China, explores comic convergences on the silver screen, focusing on filmmakers who embraced a vaudevillian aesthetic of visceral comedy and variety entertainment. It offers a guided tour of cinematic comedy in comparative perspective, drawing out resonances between Hollywood and Chinese films from the 1910s to the 1950s. Illustrating the discussion are clips from a variety of films, from early works by Charlie Chaplin to the short-lived era of cinematic satire in Mao’s China. Continue reading

Twenty-Two’s popularity (1)

I would like to share a news article about the film Twenty-Two that was translated from Chinese and posted on the city hall official website of Jinhua, Zhejiang.

Marco Lovisetto <mlovisetto@gmail.com>

Source: Jinhua.gov.cn (8/30/17)
Documentary on Comfort Women

August 14, 2017 marks the fifth International Comfort Women Day, which is also the day of the release of Twenty-Two, the first documentary about comfort women allowed to be officially released in China.

On August 12, two days before the film’s debut, 90-year-old Huang Youliang, the only survivor in mainland China who once sued the Japanese government for levying comfort women, passed away at her home in Lingshui Li Autonomous County of Hainan Province.

Su Zhiliang, a professor of Shanghai Normal University and director of the Research Center of Chinese Comfort Women, delivered the news to Jinhua Daily immediately when he saw Huang’s obituary. He urged Jinhua Daily to take good care of the one former comfort woman in Jinhua and keep him informed about her well-being. Continue reading

Twenty-Two’s popularity

Source: Sup China (2/28/17)
Documentary on World War II ‘comfort women’ might become most profitable Chinese movie of all time
Pang-Chieh Ho gives you the latest news from one of China’s most dynamic industries.
By Pang-Chieh Ho

A promotional photo for Twenty-Two

When Twenty-Two (二十二 èr shí èr), a documentary that interviews 22 surviving World War II sex slaves, debuted in mainland Chinese theaters on August 14, nobody had expected that it would be such a big hit with Chinese moviegoers. Made from a paltry budget of 3 million yuan ($450,000), Twenty-Two managed to buck expectations. Not only is it the first documentary to make more than 100 million yuan ($15 million) at China’s box office, according to Mtime (in Chinese), but if it ends up grossing 300 million yuan ($45 million), a goal that analysts are confident the documentary will attain, it will also become the most profitable Chinese movie of all time (in Chinese). Continue reading

HK cinema mooc “rerun”

We are doing a “rerun” of our MOOC on Hong Kong cinema beginning on September 12.  This is a great opportunity for your students to participate for free in our online course.  If it fits, consider putting it on your syllabus.  The students do not need to complete the course or even start at the beginning, so feel free to ask them to drop in for one or two units.  They can do all the online activities as well as participate in the forum discussions.  If you would like us to do something specifically for your students, please let us know.  We can consider special activities or online forum questions to stimulate discussion.  Also, if you have any feedback on the MOOC, feel free to share your thoughts with us.  We are grateful for your support. Continue reading

Have a Nice Day review

Source: China Film Insider (8/17/13)
Film Review: ‘Have a Nice Day’
By Jonathan Landreth

Official still of ‘Have a Nice Day’.

(Grade: A)

A tousled-haired young man in a third-tier Chinese city is desperate to fix the botched plastic surgery done on his fiancée’s face. At knifepoint, he steals a satchel of one million yuan from a local gangster, setting off a chain-reaction of greed and brutal violence between strangers in “Have a Nice Day,” the first Chinese animated feature to screen in a major international film festival. Continue reading

Documentary about comfort women

List members might be interested to know that a documentary on Chinese comfort women opened in cinemas in China this week. This film is the project of a young director named Guo Ke 郭柯 who filmed his interviews with the survivors of comfort women for Japanese soldiers during WWII. Financial assistance was provided by a TV drama star who sought the support of TV and film celebrities in China, including director Feng Xiaogang 冯小刚, her husband Yuan Hong 袁弘, also a hot TV drama personality and other friends to help promote the film. The documentary shows the now elderly women plainly and let them speak for themselves. When Guo began the project, thirty of them were still alive. By the time the film was completed, only twenty two were left. That is why the film is titled Twenty Two. By now, when the film is ready to be shown, only eight were still living.

Lily Lee <l.lee@sydney.edu.au>

Wolf Warriors 2 (1)

Source: China Film Insider (8/13/17)
Film Review: ‘Wolf Warriors II’
By Jonathan Landreth

The hottest movie in China this summer tells the story of a fallen elite Chinese commando set on avenging the capture of his lover. Half way around the world in a resource-rich, disease-riddled, and war-torn nation somewhere along Africa’s coast, Leng Feng, is the gunslinging superhuman hero in writer, director and star Wu Jing’s super-violent shoot-em-up action film “Wolf Warriors 2.” Continue reading

Le Moulin

Posted by Bert Scruggs <bms@uci.edu>
Source: Japan Times (8/9/17)
‘Le Moulin’ gives a voice to Taiwanese poets who wrote under Japan’s colonial rule
by Kaori Shoji

Documenting a different time: Filmmaker Huang Ya-li uses archival footage and interviews in his film ‘Le Moulin’ to tell the story of a group of Taiwanese poets who lived under Japanese rule in the lead-up to World War II.

The word “nisshiki” (Japanese style) can often be seen on storefront signs in Taiwan to indicate chic, high-end products. It’s a little similar to what we in Japan associate with luxury items from France, though “nisshiki” is a holdover from the days when Taiwan was under Japanese rule (1895-1945).

Documentary filmmaker Huang Ya-li tells me that Taiwan is currently in the throes of a “Japan nostalgia boom” that recalls the colonial days with a degree of fondness he doesn’t quite understand. Continue reading

Plastic China review

Source: China Film Insider (7/28/17)
Film Review: Plastic China
By Jonathan Landreth

Grade A+

There’s a strong temptation to suggest a matinee screening of director Wang Jiuliang’s stunning documentary Plastic China [塑料王国]. Its implications are so dark that viewers would do well to exit the theater into the daylight and thank their lucky stars that life is better for them than it appears to be for the family of migrant workers at the center of this brave film.

The film revolves around the lives of seven humans just scraping by at a stinking mom-and-pop factory sorting waste imported from the West for recycling. All the heaviness of hardscrabble poverty is there in stark, uncomfortable relief, and yet this un-narrated, stripped-down non-fiction testament to our environmental challenge is a must-see. Continue reading