Photo courtesy World Socialist Website
dGenerate films is proud to welcome director Ying Liang to the New York City and SF Bay Area at the end of April and beginning of May. Ying will attend screenings of his most recent two features, The Other Half and Good Cats.
Ying is one of a select few Chinese filmmakers screening their works in the program “On the Edge: New Independent Cinema from China 2009” at the Film Society at Lincoln Center. The Other Half screens on Friday April 24th at 9pm and Good Cats screens Sunday April 26 at 6pm.
The Other Half will also have a special screening at the China Institute on April 25th at 5pm. The April 25th screening will feature Ying Liang in a Q&A session following the film.
Ying Liang will then head across the country for two events in the Bay Area. The Center for Chinese Studies at UC Berkeley will have Ying on hand for a screening and discussion of The Other Half on April 28th at 4pm. Ying will also attend the West Coast premiere of Good Cats as part of the New Directors showcase at the San Francisco International Film Festival on April 26, 28, 29 and May 1.
If you’re interested in attending any of these showings please visit the corresponding website and get your tickets early.
The Other Half
The Other Half is a harrowing political critique of China that explores the social and environmental problems facing the country, mostly through the monologues of women seeking counsel in a law office. Variety critic Ronnie Scheib said of this movie:
By having “real-life” women tell their problems directly to the camera, behind which sits a “fictional” femme with problems of her own, Ying and g.f./producer/co-writer Peng Shan have forged a dynamic dual perspective on China’s female population. Endlessly haunting, the complex interplays between the individual and the collective, sound and image, foreground and background, all infuse Ying’s films with serene, even joyous consciousness that is the opposite of despair.
The New Yorker‘s Richard Brody adds:
With a blend of documentary and fiction, Ying roots the action firmly in a depressing cultural context: the ubiquitous official loudspeakers blaring police announcements and the television droning patriotic propaganda belie the economic and moral corruption that pervades the system and infects private life. Filming with a puckishly bland interview-style fixed camera and sarcastic cityscapes, Ying convincingly depicts a state of repressed volatility which, when it blows, does so with a far-reaching, vitriolic, righteous audacity that has few parallels in the modern cinema.
Writing for the San Francisco International Film Festival, Roger Garcia describes Ying’s newest feature Good Cats:
Luo Liang, a young man trying to meet the expectations of family and work, has come to town looking for something better but is unsure of his lot in life. His snobbish wife nags him to get a proper job and learn some skills. He responds by romancing a prostitute. His role as a driver for ruthless property developer Boss Peng soon is ratcheted up to enforcer, as Peng’s ambitions expand. His former mentor, meanwhile, sees his fortunes sink and heads for a tragic end. Following Taking Father Home (SKYY Prize, SFIFF 2006), and The Other Half (SFIFF 2008), Ying Liang continues to document the effects of fraud, greed and corruption – capitalism – in his home town of Zigong, charting how economic changes have altered the lives of many Chinese today. Ying’s invocation of the three destinies of modern Chinese man – as wanderer, corrupt boss or tragic loser – is enriched through sly wit, excellent work with nonprofessional actors and his insertion of Chinese rock group Lamb’s Funeral into scenes where the band functions as a kind of Greek chorus to the proceedings. As a putative master of the bleak comedy, Ying finds irony in Deng Xiaoping’s ends-justify-means dictum that a cat’s color is irrelevant: It’s good as long as it catches the rat. But just look how the cats unleashed by Deng have turned out.