New Chinese Cinema: Day Three
Series continues with two more premiers
Saturday, November 30, 2002
7:30 PM - 12:00 PM
James Bridges Theater
RAILROAD OF HOPE
(Xi wang zhi lu)
(2001) Directed by Ning Ying
Peasants have been a favored socialist subject, but more rarely to be had are their first-person testimonials like the ones Ning Ying offers in her new documentary. In it, the filmmaker—best known for her trilogy of Beijing stories ending with I LOVE BEIJING (2001)—joins hundreds of Sichuan peasants on a three-day, cross-country journey in an overcrowded train to jobs picking cotton in northwestern Xinjiang. To young and old carrying out an annual ritual of migration, she poses questions like "What is your biggest wish in life?" and nets prudent economic insights, startling personal stories of despair, the occasional silence as well as expressions of pragmatism. This is a portrait of the Chinese heartland "unplugged."
Producer: Ning Ying. Writer: Ning Ying. Cinematographer: Ning Ying, Guo Guang. Editor: Ning Ying. Presented in Mandarin dialogue with English subtitles. Beta-SP, 56 min.
DEVILS ON THE DOORSTEP
(Guizi lai le)
(2000) Directed by Jiang Wen
DEVILS ON THE DOORSTEP ranks among the classic films that denounce with tragicomedy the horrors inflicted by war on common people. During the WWII Japanese occupation of northern China, two prisoners are dumped by a mysterious freedom fighter at the door of a young peasant (Jiang himself, in a superb performance). As months pass, the village is left with a thorny problem: they are to hide their wards—a Japanese sergeant and a Chinese interpreter—under the nose of a Japanese garrison. Shooting in spectacular black and white, Jiang balances horror and humor, a genuine sympathy for the plight of Chinese peasants during the Japanese occupation, and a more encompassing gaze at the foibles and humanity of his characters, Japanese and Chinese alike. He also gives a first-rate performance as the film’s protagonist.
Producer: Dong Ping, Zheng Quangang. Screenplay: You Fengwei, Shi Jianquan, Shu Ping, Jiang Wen. Cinematographer: Gu Changwei. Editor: Folmer Wiesinger, Zhang Yifan. Cast: Jiang Wen, Kagawa Teruyiki, Chen Quiang Quiang, Chen Shu. Presented in Mandarin and Japanese dialogue with English subtitles. 35mm, 134 min.
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