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Hilarious! But what is the film with the policeman sacrificed by the villagers??

Following the call for suggestions in the Chinese Cinema Digest, I first have to say that I was a little bit depressed about the state of Chinese cinema in this decade. Still some gems among those that I watched, but is there a trend towards more ambitious and professional story-telling? I really cannot see it… but then again, as you can tell from the movie selection, I am more on the Chinese mainstream side and am not aware of too many young film-makers that may change this perception.

In more or less ranked order (I hope the HK and Macao films qualify):

1) Still Life (Jia ZhangKe)

2) Blind Shaft (Li Yang)

3) In the Mood for Love (Wong KarWai)

4) Isabella (Pang Ho-Cheung)

5) The world (Jia Zhang-Ke)

6) Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles (Zhang Yimou)

7) Lust, Caution (Ang Lee)

8) 2046 (Wong Kar-Wai)

9) Infernal Affairs (Andrew Lau, Alan Mak)

10) Summer Palace (Lou Ye)

And following the ambitious amateurs, here comes to pro: Roger Ebert, Godfather of film critique, cheated himself into a top 20 list for 2009, which has the unique feature of featuring Werner Herzog in the “Mainstream” category (the person most likely to ever anticipate that to happen would be Werner Herzog, I presume).
Same treatment as with the filmspotting list: the watched ones (new title for “Watchmen” sequel? “The Watched Ones”? Please don’t…) are highlighted. And it’s so annoying that apparently awards season is shifting so strongly towards New Year that with most of the really anticipated films I did not have a chance to watch yet, grrrr…

Top Ten Mainstream Films:
Bad Lieutenant (as all Herzog fillms: overrated by US film critics, but worth watching, and always a good laugh)
Crazy Heart (should / must / want to see!)
An Education (must see)
The Hurt Locker (yes, very good)
Inglourious Basterds (yes, very good fun, with some outstanding elements)
Knowing (puff, puff, puff…. Hyperventilation may make this pretentious thing go away)
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (must see)
A Serious Man (must see)
Up in the Air (must see)
The White Ribbon (excellent!)
Special Jury Prize: Avatar (must see)

The Top Ten Independent Films
Departures (on my list of must-see)
Disgrace (almost watched it two months ago… or maybe read the book first?)
Everlasting Moments (don’t know)
Goodbye Solo (I have it, yet awaits watching, as do the director’s all other films – this promises to be a feast!)
Julia (not yet, but will)
Silent Light (promise, very soon)
Sin Nombre (I always wanted, but then … not yet)
Skin (don’t know)
Trucker (what? Rubber Duck?)
You, the Living (They Live was groovy)

This is depressing… but let’s call it my official holiday to do list!

If you like movies and don’t listen to Filmspotting podcast, I cannot help you. But if you like year’s end, year’s middle and year’s sometime-in-between top-10 lists and top-5 lists, and still don’t know their podcast, bury yourself. Or better, go to the site and indulge in the last years’ lists about anything and everything related to movies. Best taboo relationship movies. Best Halloween entertainment movies. Best first date movies, etc. Now to celebrate the end of the year and the decade, here are the moderators Adam and Matty’s year’s top 10 movies, and also guest commentator Michael Phillips of Chicago newspaper and “At the Movies” fame. I marked those I watched:

Adam
1. Inglourious Basterds (good entertainment)
2. Humpday (must see)
3. An Education (must see)
4. The Hurt Locker (really gripping)
5. A Serious Man (must see, if only out of Coen habit)
6. Up in the Air (must see, if only for the man crush)
7. Summer Hours (never heard)
8. Brothers (why should I see that again?)
9. The White Ribbon (excellent – my movie of the year)
10.Where the Wild Things Are (looks good, will see soon)

Michael Phillips
1. Up (impressive – but slightly straightforward in the 2nd half)
2. Where the Wild Things Are (looks good, will see soon)
3. Waltz with Bashir (hmmm… yes, but maybe it’s only form over function)
4. Of Time and the City (so much want to see this)
5. The Hurt Locker (really gripping)
6. A Serious Man (must see, if only out of Coen habit)
7. In the Loop (really hilarious film based on a really really hilarious tv show with one of the best villains ever)
8. Sugar (what?)
9. Me and Orson Welles (not sure)
10.A Single Man (where did I hear that before?)

Matty
1. Inglourious Basterds (good entertainment)
2. An Education (must see)
3. The Hurt Locker (really gripping)
4. A Serious Man (must see, if only out of Coen habit)
5. Brothers (why should I see that again?)
6. Sugar (what? another mention? need to research…)
7. Treeless Mountain (never heard…)
8. Up in the Air (must see, if only for the man crush)
9. O’Horten (lovely, and gets the shrewd Scandinavian bonus prize)
10.Summer Hours (never heard)

The New York Times’ Economix Blog has an interesting bit about how to calculate blockbuster success properly and how to compare movie success of 1938 (Gone with the Wind) with one in 2008 (The Dark Knight). It is inflation, ticket price develpoment, maybe purchasing power development, sure, but also population rise (or decline), number of screens, maybe average distance to the next screen, number of children eligible for reduced admission fee, etc etc. The analysis the article refers to looks into some of them, not all by far, but already re-affirms that the truly hugely successful movies of all times are those you expect them to be from your gut feeling. Does “Dark Knight” coney this? Not really. “10 Commandments”? – Absolutely, as does “Gobe with the Wind”, “Star Wars” or “E.T.” is there any comprehensive analysis with the development of a logical and stringent measurement system around?

Wittertainment at its most wittertaining, this time from Imagethief on the ever-fascinating topic of governmentally conceived culture:
As the Beijing Municipal People’s Political Consultative Conference announced that they had conceived a big-scale blockbuster flick about the Birth of a Nation (something like that, in any case), the approporiate comment comes in:
“… nothing says, Aaargh! My eyes! like “Conceived by the Beijing Municipal People’s Political Consultative Conference.” This, in a nutshell, is every single thing that’s wrong with Chinese popular culture –especially the film industry– distilled down to it’s purest essence in nine bone chilling words. The BMPPCC should conceive statues. It should conceive statutes. It should conceive worthy initiatives to get healthy meals to schoolchildren and it should conceive improved traffic laws. But it should conceive motion pictures like I should conceive a two-headed goat child.”
Imagethief goes on to suggest that the picture should be helmed by Michael Bay instead of Huang Jianxin and replace a politics whore with a money whore. Bay being the anti-christ, this will not happen, of course, as it would cause religious turmoil. I think the idea of showing ’em how it’s done is pretty good, though, and suggest to ask Trey Parker and Matt Stone to go for the big screen again.

Righ before the shows starts, my predictions / expectations:
Best Film / Best Director: Slumdog / Boyle –> yes
Best actor: Rourke –> no, Penn
Actress: Meryl Streep –> no, the chubby one from Titanic took it away
Support Actor: Heathcliff Huxtable … no, what’s his name? Anyway… –> yes, sure
Support Actress: Viola Davis –> no, beautiful Penelope for best performance in worst film of the year (can they hand out Oscars and Razzies at the same event, would be more efficient)
Screenplay Original: In Bruges (best movie of the year, if you want my opinion!) –> no, Milk, sounds a bit boring
Screenplay adapted: Slumdog –> yes
Foreign language: The Class –> no, the Japanese film
Animated: Wall-E –> yes
Cinematography: Slumdog –> yes
Documentary: Man on Wire –> yes
The rest: can’t be bothered…

The unmissable Filmspotting podcast has this nice feature of Top 5 something movies at the end of each podcast. This time, I felt compelled to “counter” their list of “Top 5 Abduction Movies” with my own, as there was at least one unforgiveable ommission. Hope Adam and Matty will survive the criticism.

Their list
1. The Big Lebowski/Fargo/Raising Arizona
2. The Searchers
3. Silence of the Lambs
4. Blue Velvet
5. Oldboy

While these are cool, my number one is non-negotiable:
1. Spoorloss / The Vanishing
If this is not the meanest ending of a film ever (including and considering the recent “The Mist” as competititor, but still!), the I don’t know. The prototypical abduction in many ways: no motive, no remedy, no resolution. Lesson learned: if somebody gets abducted, you better leave it as it is.
2. Raising Arizona
3. Poltergeist
4. Oldboy
5. Silence of the Lambs

Just found on IMDB, Golden Globe award results

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Winner: Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

You are fucking kiddin’ me… behold, the end is nigh. Horsemen of the Apocalypse closing in any second, “Goodbye cruel world, I’m leaving you today”!

Or maybe just the end of brain functions?

I found this on The MovieNess’s blog, and fun as it is to pick a “One”, it is much more satisfying to do a “Three”, so first the “One”, to show I am disciplined, followed by the “Three”, to prove that I am not.

One:
1. One movie that made you laugh: Ghostbusters
2. One movie that made you cry: Local Hero
3. One movie you loved when you were a child: The Rescuers
4. One movie that you have seen more than 10 times: Escape from New York
5. One movie you’ve seen multiple times in the theater: Dances with Wolves
6. One movie you walked out on: Land and Freedom
7. One movie that you can and do quote from: Lawrence of Arabia
8. One movie you loved, but were embarrassed to admit it: Dances with Wolves
9. One movie that you keep meaning to see but just haven’t gotten around to watching yet: The Seventh Seal
10. One movie you hated: Vicky, Christina, Barcelona
11. One movie that scared you: The Descent
12. One movie that made you happy: The Commitments
13. One movie that made you miserable: Kammerflimmern
14. One movie musical for which you know all the lyrics to all the songs: Pink Floyd – The Wall
15. One movie that you have been known to sing along with: Rocky Horror Picture Show
16. One movie you would recommend that everyone see: Lawrence of Arabia
17. One movie character you’ve fallen in love with: Epiphany Proudfoot (Angel Heart)
18. One actor that would make you more inclined to see a movie: Clive Owen
19. One actor that would make you less likely to see a movie: Steve Martin
20. One of the last movies you saw: This is Spinal Tap
21. One of the next movies you hope to see: The Assassination of Jessie James by the Coward Robert Ford

Three:
1. Three movies that made you laugh: Ghostbusters, Tootsie, Laurel and Hardy: Way Out West
2. Three movies that made you cry: Local Hero, Cinema Paradiso, Local Hero
3. Three movies you loved when you were a child: The Rescuers, Bringing Up Baby, Quo Vadis
4. Three movies that you have seen more than 10 times: Escape from New York, Once Upon a Time in the West, The Bible
5. Three movies you’ve seen multiple times in the theater: Dances with Wolves, Lawrence of Arabia, Once Upon a Time in the West
6. Three movies you walked out on: Land and Freedom, Rollerball (1975 version), no other
7. Three movies that you can and do quote from: Lawrence of Arabia, Escape from New York, The Godfather
8. Three movies you loved, but were embarrassed to admit it: Dances with Wolves, Tootsie, Mama Mia
9. Three movies that you keep meaning to see but just haven’t gotten around to watching yet: The Seventh Seal, The Tulse Luper Suitcases, Tideland
10. Three movies you hated: Vicky, Christina, Barcelona; Pirates of the Carribean – Dead Man’s Chest; Melinda & Melinda
11. Three movies that scared you: The Descent, Spoorloos (1988 Dutch version), The Fog
12. Three movies that made you happy: The Commitments, Local Hero, I am sure there was a third one…
13. Three movies that made you miserable: Wolfsburg, Krótki film o zabijaniu (A Short Film about Killing), The Pianiste (The Piano Teacher)
14. Three movie musicals for which you know all the lyrics to all the songs: Pink Floyd – The Wall, Blues Brothers, Jungle Book
15. Three movies that you have been known to sing along with: Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Commitments, Singing in the Rain
16. Three movies you would recommend that everyone see: Lawrence of Arabia, Ta’m e guilass (Taste of Cherry), Before the Rain
17. Three movie characters you’ve fallen in love with: Epiphany Proudfoot (Lisa Bonet in “Angel Heart”), Raimunda (Penelope Cruz in “Volver”), Heathcliff (Laurence Olivier in “Wuthering Heights”…)
18. Three actors that would make you more inclined to see a movie: Clive Owen, Sigourney Weaver, Harvey Keitel
19. Three actors that would make you less likely to see a movie: Steve Martin, Jim Carey, Julia Roberts
20. Three of the last movies you saw: This is Spinal Tap, The Dark Knight, Paranoid Park
21. Three of the next movies you hope to see: The Assassination of Jessie James by the Coward Robert Ford, Mei Lanfang (Forever Enthralled), Slumdog Millionaire

New Year time is list time, and this is a good one. The Washington Post’s movies of the year stay pretty clear of the mainstream productions, and this year this is pretty much justified, as mainstream arthouse has had a disappointing record so far. Ann Horday’s list looks like this:
1. “The Visitor”
2. “WALL E”
3. “Milk”
4. “The Edge of Heaven”
5. “Man on Wire”
6. “Chicago 10”
7. “Happy-Go-Lucky”
8. “Rachel Getting Married”
9. “I’ve Loved You So Long”
10. “Tell No One”
And almost all of these films I have either seen and liked, or are on my list of desperately anticipated DVDs (lacking cinemas that would show them…).

One in an endless stream of moving Paul Newman moments, but one that really feels special:

Never mind what happened in 1969. I’ll dig up the old magazine and put it on the web site. Let’s move forward to 1995, and listen very carefully. When I walked into his room, he said, “Aw…it’s you again.” The point is not that he remembered me. The point is how he said “aw…” Imagine it in Paul Newman’s voice. It evoked feelings hard to express in words. The “aw” wasn’t “oh, no,” as it sometimes can be. To it me it translated as, “Aw, it’s that scared kid, grown up.” Whatever it meant, it put me right at home.

I have hardly ever been expecting a tv show as eagerly as I was expecting the 4th Season of Battlestar Galactica over the last nine or so months (now how is that about being auspicious?). In the last two years, I have been catching up with quite a bit of tv show material that I could never be bothered to watch before, or where the sheer format – the weekly installments putting their cruel dictate upon me – were just not my kind of ball game. Some considerations on this self-surprising development:

I suppose most of my change of attitude is due to the age of DVD boxes and online download platforms. It started, I remember, when I VHS-taped the first season of “24” a couple of years ago (and even before that, I was the occassional “X Files” and of course “Twin Peaks” audience member), but only took really off with the boxed sets of the first season(s) of “Lost”, “Heroes”, and “Battlestar Galactica”. I admit that those four shows have turned me around – I was absolutely amazed at the high quality of tv that is being written and produced on any given day in the wide world of US tv (only very recently did I realise that for some strange reason, all the best US tv premiers on Thursdays and Fridays – and I cannot for the life of me imagine why a broadcaster wants to offer his crown jewels on a Friday night, honestly!).

Outside those BIG FOUR, there is plenty of material with which I could brighten my day any time: the perennial “C.S.I.”, the hard-hitting “Dexter”, very clever “Californication”, eerie “Life” (will you be back, Damon? Pleeease!), terminated “Jericho”, sexy “Entourage”, even the recently re-discovered “South Park” (all episodes online, takes only about a month to watch 12 of them. Seasons, I mean). There will be the day when I will get the complete “Sopranoes” box set, no doubt. And “The Wire” lurking behind the corner, waiting to be discovered.

Through the writers’ strike, it became clearer to me how difficult it must be to sustain a coherent story line, credible characters and just the right pacing for each of these dramas to work out. The strike messed it all up royally, and nowhere was it as visible as in the case of “Heroes”, where the transition from excellent character drama to completely disoriented and pointless superheroes patchwork took exactly one day – last episode season 1 to first episode season 2. Arbitrarily introduced new characters did not work, storylines got lost, nobody really saw what the actual drama, the McGuffin driving the story, was. You cannot pack a show designed for 23 episodes in just 11 or so. It got random, and while there is the hope that the long hiatus gives the writers and producers the unprecedented chance to write the best and most intelligent and most dramatic season in tv show history, chances are rather that the show will glide into oblivion, having missed the chance to keep up the high quality, and not getting another one. “Lost” had a similar problem, actually, also introduced a new set of characters for the new season, but managed slightly better to keep their profile low, indicating that somebody out there knows what to do with them – only next year instead of this.

Even the shows that are running on very high steam and with constant quality for years – BSG and Lost, maybe – are extremely fragile in that respect. The audience’s urge to come back every week – to watch it or to start the download or to get home and watch the TiVo recording – can evaporate just like that if you push the wrong button once too often. “Lost” almost achieved that when they lost track of their mythology by introducing new characters and killing them off right away within one episode: the two guys who got buried alive in season 3 were not just irrelevant to the show, they were an intruder from the hostile planet of “continuous tv programming”, where a tv show’s story having a beginning, a mid-section and an end is considered blasphemy against the God of profitability. One-off stories allow a show to go on forever – and going on forever is exactly what all those shows I like cannot do without destroying themselves (with maybe the only exception and guilty pleasure of CSI, assuming that Grissom is immortal, and why should he not be?):

“Lost” needs to find a way to either get the people off the island for good – or to keep them there for good. “Heroes” and “24” are odd brothers in that they must find a new apocalyptic threat per season (one that did not really exist in Season 2 of “Heroes”, and a couple too many in the last “24” season), and Battlestar Galactica must lead the colonial fleet to Earth – or get smashed by the Cylon armies to smithereens – which is what I still kind of hope for: a truly heroic ending for that beaten-up garabage truck and its brave crew.

Before BSG had decided to fulfil its mission after season 4 (and praise the Lords of Kobol for this wise decision!), isolated episodes were seeping in by the minute: about Sagritarian sects, rogue doctors, admirals’ wedding anniversaries, trade union nonsense and so forth. I believe the high concentration of these episodes in the second third of season 3 made the decision to terminate the show after one more season unavoidable, unless you can live with the fact of turning a high-quality drama in a rubbish soap opera (as the X-files creators did, of course – learn from history, shape the future…). “Lost” is a bit more hesitant, but 100 episodes will be enough for them, two more seasons to go. The “24” format has reached a point where you cannot just repeat the same pattern, because only so many presidents can get assassinated per tv show. Unless they re-invent themselves after the long long long break, they should consider also going out with a bang (make Jack president, and have him shot when swearing the oath – and then his annoying daughter takes over his job, longing for revenge, and we will never have to watch again. Or we have to watch the loop re-runs of episodes 1 – 7).

As all the shows have been taking breath recently, and only the Battlestar has been revving her engines again, with plenty of waiting time ahead for all the others, I was wondering: what’s coming next? Where is the next “Lost”, the other BSG-like re-invention of Science Fiction drama, where is the proof that there can be decent tv outside those shows? I am a bit concerned, to be honest, that the time of big-scale drama may already be at an end, that shows that are running over a couple of seasons, but hardly ever lose their aim, their target out of their eyes, may be outdated? Or too expensive? Please no… I just got used to them.

This is too good to be true. I am a late Ebert-explorer, having grown up in parts of the world where he was not known as writer or tv host. So after a couple of months of diving through the regular archives (pleasant enough), but being annoyed at the lack of subscribing in one way or the other to the website, now here comes the Ebert-Blog, opening with the most appropriate things you can expect, a humorous obituary on Arthur C. Clarke, who “died convinced Bill Gates had made a big mistake in not keeping the Cinemania CD-Rom in print.”
This is something to look forward to!

Still maybe my favourite contemporary Chinese filmmaker (auteur? If you please!), Jia ZhangKe’s films are, in his own words, but also quite visibly, about ordinary people in typical Chinese settings. This means the people are usually neither rich nor do they live in the prosperous Eastern cities. If they do (as in Shi Jie – The World), then they are caught in a desolate wasteland from where they can only observe the new wealth puring into the country.
Some interesting bits about this interview with Good magazine: I never knew what it means to be “banned from making film” on a practical level, but Jia mentions it, telling about his experience after being subjected to such a ban in 1999:
“So, when I made Pickpocket, I gave no thought to the censors. We just wanted to make the film the way we wanted. In 1998 it showed at the Berlin film festival, and then in 1999 I was banned from making films. This ban had no expiration date, and it meant that I was on a blacklist at all the postproduction companies in Beijing and Shanghai, saying that I couldn’t borrow equipment or develop film.”

And on the notion of piracy:
“In the context of China, I also think DVD piracy is useful. I went through a long period during which my knowledge of film came from reading scripts, or listening to other people’s descriptions. I knew about Godard, Truffaut, and films like Kramer vs. Kramer and On Golden Pond, but I hadn’t seen any of them. China had these films, but they were locked away in an archive, to be seen by film insiders and people with special privileges.”
The end of the article has a list of his films, useful as a checklist, because I just realise I still have not yet seen “Dong” and “Useless”, his latest documentaries. There is also another list of recommended non-Jia movies, most of which are pretty decent.

Even though the guys at “Slate” have a more sober attitude towards Wong’s latest films in particular than I have (Mood for Love, 2046 being repetitive efforts – yes, we knew that, but that was somehow the point, was it not?), they still have the fair point that currently it looks as if this without doubt visionary and visually inspiring director is somehow stalled. Even though I have not seen it yet, My Blueberry Nights does not appear to be the re-invention of Sturm und Drang narration and cinematography, either. However, following his contemplating characters dream around for a while is still among the better movie experiences in any case. Just imagine to would have to spend the same time sitting through a Cheng KaiGe epic…

Is it just me, or:
* was the second season of Heroes lying in a heap of uninspired and all-over-the-pace shambles, with nonsense plot lines (virus) and boring new characters (this latino chica/chicko team), a miserable patchwork abruptly ended by the strike. For some reason beyond me, the makers decided to pretend this was a closed season instead of just having the breath for a 6 month break.

* was the last season of 24 (was it 6 or7?) fatally stuck to a concept that became so formulaic that even the impending death of millions was not able to create tension anymore, and the repetitive "crisis-resolution-more-crisis-more-resolution" pattern was used up for good, probably making the authors grateful for a strike that gave them another year of thinking time.

* should Jericho have ended after one (maybe slightly longer) season, because the effect of being cut off from a world about which you don’t know anything, struck by you don’t know what, could not hold forever. And once the post-Apocalyptic action sets in, the show loses a lot, because re-building an anarchic society is a completely different story, one which requires larger patterns and larger pictures – in both of which the Jericho production is not as good at as in the chamber drama of "Locked in our little town".

* did "Lost" modulate dangerously between fascinating and desperate efforts to make it to the show’s finale, with catastrophic blackouts such as the "I am paralysed by a spiderbite" episode last season, and with an eerie effort to get more things resolved within one episode. This is not necessarily benefincial to a drama that needs to pace towards its finale, and where every resolution along the way only takes away this pace.

The only real high-quality constants of the shows I watch have been CSI (I guess those guys are just too routined to get distracted by anything) and Battlestar Galactica, where there is hope that with the end in sight, there is no danger of losing faith and the path. But then again, we have not yet seen the start of the final season, and dammit, has that last season been long ago!

Well let’s say in comparison to “Phantom Menace”, this is the much better movie, and shorter, too! I am the last person on the planet to find it (You Tube Counter at 2 Million plus), but still: Star Wars retold.

And while we are at it, what would this posting be without reference to the other shortest Star Wars version. 30 Seconds, and bunnies!

I frequently go back to the UME website – always nurturing the dire hope that there must be a day when more interesting produce than “Assembly” and “Warlords” hits Beijing’s big screens (I think I would physically give my left arm to see a non-censored version of “No Country for Old Men” on one of the Beijing big-ass multiplex screens – both arms for a double feature with “There will be blood”). During the comfort of the No-US-Movies moratorium that of course did not exist, the screens filled with some extravagant stuff (most if which was outright rubbish) and with a bit of threshold material, pretending not to be American (My Blueberry Pies, I think it was called).
Now I come back to see whether it’s better to go for the DVD collection on an uncomfortable Saturday afternoon, and here he is: Will Smith and the Film With the Spelling Mistake in The Title. I would have much preferred to see the IMAX version of I am Legend, of course, but this is not so much a film now, but more a light on the horizon, indicating the point has been made about the WTO and the Chinese film’s market share has been re-established (or maybe it’s a technicality and one of the producers had an English grandmother? Never mind, it’s the signal that counts!). At least this promises a couple of blockbusters in a decent technology setting. Get out the 3-D goggles, Beowulf can’t be far!
UPDATE 2008-01-20: The colleagues at www.Danwei.org point to recent schedules with quite a few US and other foreign movies waiting in line: “Doraemon (Japan, 01.24), Salir pitando (Spain, end of Jan), The Water Horse (US, 02.16), Atonement (UK, end of Feb), some Russia movie that I can’t find a translation for (end of Feb), and then in March, Golden Compass and National Treasure” linking to this Chinese source and to this slightly different Canadian one. Let’s sit and wait…

This is a good chance to catch up with the films missed over the last years. Rotterdam (January 23 to February 3) will screen some outstanding examples from China’s Fourth Generation film makers:
See here for the details and here for more on the respective films:

The films are:

Troubled Laughter / Kunao ren de xiao, Yang Yanjin, Deng Yimin, 1979

Little Flower / Xiao Hua, Huang Jianzhong, Zhang Zheng, 1979

Evening Rain / Bashan yeyu, Wu Yigong, Wu Yonggang, 1980

The Alley / Xiaojie, Yang Yanjin, 1981

River Without Buoys / Meiyou hangbiao de heliu, Wu Tian Ming, 1983

My Memories of Old Beijing / Chengnan jiushi, Wu Yigong, 1983

At the Beach / Haitan, Teng Wenji, 1984

Narrow Lane Celebrity / Xiaoxiang mingliu, Cong Lianwen, 1985

In the Wild Mountains / Yeshan, Yan Xueshu, 1985

Sacrificed Youth / Qingchunji, Zhang Nuanxin, 1985

Woman Demon Human / Ren gui qing, Huang Shuqin, 1987

Black Snow / Benming nian, Xie Fei, 1989

This is a lineup that would be great for a Beijing filmfest, actually. I am sure most of those movies have never really seen the light of China’s day.

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