New Chinese Cinema: A Film Series
Nine independently produced recent films to be screened at UCLA in November & December
Published: Friday, November 15, 2002
On Saturday, November 23, the UCLA Film & Television Archive will launch a series – New Chinese Cinema – of nine slightly (or greatly) off-center films, to be screened through December 7.
For the screening schedule, go to <www.cinema.ucla.edu/public/calendar_f.html>.
In the words of Bérénice Reynaud, co-curator of the series:
"Chinese cinema keeps reinventing itself with the emergence of new talents. Some . . . are confined in the independent sector, always on the verge of illegality, dodging censorship by being officially produced in Hong Kong or abroad: Emily Tang and CONJUGATION, Wang Chao and THE ORPHAN OF ANYANG. A flurry of young filmmakers gravitate around independent director Jia Zhangke’s small production company, often shooting in DV or in 16mm and showing their work in alternative screening spaces. Such is Hu Ze’s BEIJING SUBURB, which takes an unauthorized look at the repression experienced by unaffiliated artists.
"Yet, with the 1993 reform—which, urging the studios to become profitable, triggered new forms of collaboration with private companies and was amended by more lenient provisions at the beginning of the year—it has become increasingly easier to produce independent movies without challenging the regulations of the Film Bureau. CHICKEN POETS, the brainchild of the famous young theater director Meng Jinghui, is one such successful experiment. Fifth Generation director Ning Ying has also independently produced her latest piece, the documentary RAILROAD OF HOPE.
"Zhang Yuan, one of the luminaries of the Sixth Generation, has recently completed three movies. I LOVE YOU is the adaptation of a novel by the maverick author Wang Shuo. Another, GREEN TEA (not showing in this series) offers a splendid showcase for actor/director Jiang Wen, banned from filmmaking after his second directorial venture, DEVILS ON THE DOORSTEP. A powerful indictment of the horror of war, the film is still invisible in China, but Jiang has been allowed to star in five movies this year. Another notable comeback is that of Fifth Generation director Tian Zhuangzhuang, exiled from the set since 1993, whose splendid SPRINGTIME IN A SMALL TOWN won the Upstream competition in Venice.
"The most spectacular development is that of gay cinema, still underground but increasingly bolder. Last year, the first Gay and Lesbian Film Festival took place in Beijing. One of its organizers, Cui Zi’en—screenwriter/star of Liu Bingjian’s MEN MEN WOMEN WOMEN—is now directing queer films in DV. Through his . . . flamboyant personality, finally, onto center stage in Chinese cinema, enters the Queen!"
* * *
For further information, go to the website of the Film & Television Archive www.cinema.ucla.edu/public/calendar_f.html