<i>Oxhide II</i> and <i>Disorder</i> Featured in Los Angeles New Chinese Cinema Showcase, Starts Apr
Thomas Mao (dir. Zhu Wen)
From the official press release:
“From Wednesday, April 6 to Saturday, April 9, REDCAT will present “Between Disorder and Unexpected Pleasures: Tales from the New Chinese Cinema.” In recent years, independent Chinese cinema has experienced a virtual explosion. Digital media have allowed filmmakers to be bolder, more daring and to explore hybrid forms of documentary and fiction, or mix found and live footage while playing with novel formal strategies. Independent Chinese cinema has also come of age. Reaching beyond nostalgia and social protest, it plumbs surprising corners of Chinese reality with humor that is at times light, dark, saucy, dry, raunchy or conceptual. Expect the unexpected.”
REDCAT is located at 631 West 2nd St., Los Angeles, CA 90012 – in downtown Los Angeles at the corner of 2nd and Hope Streets, inside the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex. Parking is available in the Walt Disney Concert Hall parking structure and in adjacent lots.
Tickets are $9 for the general public, $7 for students with valid ID. Tickets may be purchased by calling 213.237.2800, at www.redcat.org, or in person at the REDCAT Box Office on the corner of 2nd and Hope Streets (30 minutes free parking with validation). Box Office Hours: Tue-Sat | noon–6 pm and two hours prior to curtain.
More details on each film in the series after the break.
Thomas Mao (dir. Zhu Wen)
Thomas Mao (Xiao Dongxi), directed by Zhu Wen Los Angeles premiere with Zhu Wen in attendance Wed April 6, 8:30 pm 2010, 80 min
One of the most original voices of post-socialist China, novelist/filmmaker Zhu Wen has crafted, for his third feature, a droll, surreal and ironic tale in which East meets West… or does it? Thomas is a painter trekking through the grasslands of Inner Mongolia, and Mao the scruffy “innkeeper” who lodges him. Gradually, what appears to be “reality” shifts. Who is the butterfly, who is the philosopher?
“An intellectually teasing absurdist comedy with a touch of Zen, Thomas Mao ostensibly dramatizes the culture shock between a Chinese hillbilly and an American backpacker but goes beyond that to smudge the boundaries between art and life, dream and reality.” – Hollywood Reporter
Preceded by 21G (21 KE), directed by Sun Xun The first Chinese animation film premiered at the Venice Film Festival Animation, 2010, 27 min
A disturbing and enchanted voyage through a “world without specific time… in which we live in vanity… There is no law, no rule… lying and being lied to only…” – Sun Xin
Winter Vacation (dir. Li Hongqi)
Winter Vacation (Hanjia), directed by Li Hongqi Los Angeles Premiere Winner, Golden Leopard, Locarno International Film Festival Thur April 7, 8:30 PM 2010, 91 min
Slackers in Inner Mongolia meet the poetry of the absurd. In a dreary little northern town, kids have nothing to do… while the adults are wily or apathetic. For his third feature, poet/filmmaker Li Hongqi effortlessly leads the viewer through a series of breathtaking tableaux in which tension accumulates and then releases in unexpected, and often wickedly funny, ways.
“An absurdist sense of humor, that reminds us of Beckett, or, in cinema, of Aki Kaurismaki’s icy laughter.” – Le Monde
Oxhide II (dir. Liu Jiayin)
Oxhide II (Niupi II), directed by Liu Jiayin Los Angeles premiere with Liu Jiayin in attendance World premiered at the Cannes Film Festival Fri April 8, 8:30 PM 2009, 133 min
Building on the stunning vision of OXHIDE, writer-director Liu Jiayin once again casts herself and her parents in scripted versions of their life in a tiny Beijing apartment. Liu takes her uncompromising artistry to the extreme, setting all of the action around the family dinner table, which doubles as her father’s leather-making station. As the workbench is cleared for the family to make a dinner of dumplings, the camera catches every meticulous detail of the action in real time. Small moments between family members reveal deep insights into the mysteries of family relations and the art of everyday living.
“A masterpiece… inventive, quietly virtuosic.” – David Bordwell, Observations on Film Art
Single Man (dir. Hao Jie)
Single Man (Guangyun), directed by Hao Jie U.S. Premiere Special Jury Prize, Tokyo FILMEX Sat April 9, 3:00 PM 2010, 95 min
“This is a strange and delightful thing from China: a sex comedy, bawdy and a little raunchy, about four elderly farmers… all non-professional actors playing fictionalized versions of themselves. New director Hao Jie, with a bit of Boccaccio and a dollop of Rabelais, reveals a side of rural China you’ve probably never seen before… Chinese indie cinema at its most wryly entertaining.” –Vancouver International Film Festival
“The deceptively unsophisticated Single Man is hilarious and appalling by turns, but it always feels true.” – Variety
Disorder (dir. Huang Weikai)
Disorder (Xian Zai Shi Guo Qu De Wei Lai), directed by Huang Weikai Los Angeles premiere Sat April 9, 7:00 PM 2009, 58 min
Huang Weikai’s one-of-a-kind news documentary captures, with remarkable freedom, the anarchy, violence, and seething anxiety animating China’s major cities today. As urbanization in China advances at a breakneck pace, Chinese cities teeter on the brink of mayhem. One man dances in the middle of traffic while another tries to jump from a bridge before dozens of onlookers. Pigs run wild on a highway while dignitaries swim in a polluted river. These scenes, unshowable on China’s heavily controlled television networks reect an emerging underground media, one that can truly capture the ground-level upheaval of Chinese society.
“One of the most mesmerizing films I’ve seen in ages.” – Hua Hsu, The Atlantic
Preceded by Condolences (Wei Wen), directed by Ying Liang Rotterdam Tiger Award for Best New Short 2009, 20 min
Unfolding through a brilliantly composed one-shot sequence, this award winning film reconstructs the cruel aftermath of a highly-mediatized bus accident.
I Wish I Knew (dir. Jia Zhangke)
I Wish I Knew (Hai Shang Chuan Qi), directed by Jia Zhangke Los Angeles Premiere World premiered at the Cannes Film Festival Sat April 9, 9:30 PM 2010, 138 min
China’s most significant filmmaker of the decade has done it again, with another alluring hybrid of documentary and fiction. Here Jia weaves a dense texture between amorously shot footage of contemporary Shanghai and the films the city created or inspired. Peeking through the gaps of an architecture menaced by permanent urban renewal, he finds the traces of a romantic or brutal past, and echoes the voices of survivors or those who went into exile.
“Jia’s Shanghai is elusive and mercurial, yet tangible, symbolized by the angst-ridden flâˆšÃ‰Â¬Â¢neur character played by Zhao Tao. By opting for the fluidity of remembrance, Jia not only connects present-day Shanghai with its past but also makes the city a much more dynamic trope for aesthetic articulation.” – The China Beat
The series was curated by Cheng-Sim Lim and Bérénice Reynaud, and funded in part with generous support from Wendy Keys and Donald Pels. Zhu Wen’s and Liu Jiayin’s trips to the US were organized in a collaboration between REDCAT, Pomona College Museum of Art/ Media Studies, and the University of Oregon’s Cinema Pacific.
Between Disorder and Unexpected Pleasures: Tales from the New Chinese Cinema is presented in collaboration with the institutions that will hold additional screenings throughout the greater Los Angeles area, as well as New York City: Los Angeles Filmforum, Echo Park Film Center, Pomona College Museum of Art/Media Studies , UCLA Film and Television Archive, and the Museum of the Moving Image (NY).
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