The 2014 edition of an annual short film compilation. Zhang Yuan directs “I love you boss,” about the relationship between a wealthy man and his driver. Kang Je-kyu directs “Awaiting,” about a South Korean woman striving to reconnect with her husband in Pyongyang. Christopher Doyle does “Education for All,” a documentary about the next generation in Hong Kong and Shu Kei’s the dream focuses on a bored housewife who fixates on an attractive stranger at … Read more
Jiang Jie is famous throughout China: the “Chinese Joan of Arc,” in the words of director Zhang Yuan, a communist heroine executed by the Kuomintang in 1949, on the eve of the revolution. Zhang Yuan’s film, a passionately engaged tribute to the 1964 “revolutionary opera” based on Jiang Jie’s life, follows the original closely…The Revolutionary melodrama plot, not that different from Verdi’s 19th century versions, has of course a completely different resonance today. The Cultural … Read more
Despite its suggestive title, this multi-part Danish omnibus film is not a work of exploitation. Instead, it presents 20 different short films (back-to-back) on the general theme of Danish women, directed by filmmakers including Krzysztof Zanussi, Monika Treut, Gustav Hamos, David Blair, Vibeke Vogel, Dusan Makavejev, Morten Skallerud and Lars Norgaard. Some dramatic vignettes mix with other comedic ones, but all are offbeat and experimental. The picture includes one animated sequence (by Norgaard).
In 2002 at the invitation of the German World Art Festival, director Zhang Yuan presented the opera with Zhang Huoding in the title role as Jiang Jie at the Cologne Grand Theater – the first major presentation of a revolutionary opera in Europe. Zhang Yuan made a film version of the production in 2003.
Beijing is happening these days, but not everyone is living the golden life. Dumped, fired, evicted and abandoned by everyone (including his dog), a down-on-his-luck man finds solace with a circle of equally ill-fated friends, in this touching and lighthearted drama from independent Chinese auteur Zhang Yuan (Beijing Bastards). (TIFF.)
Liang is a four-year-old little rebel, possessed of a pair of luminous eyes and a precociously indomitable will. His father deposits him at a well-appointed residential kindergarten in post-1949 Beijing, since his parents are often away. Life at the kindergarten appears rich and colourful, made up of a variety of cheerfully sunny rituals and games meant to train these children to be good members of society.
Often cited as China’s first independent feature film, this low-budget drama, filmed largely in the director’s Beijing apartment, depicts the life of a single mother (a topic considered taboo at the time) caring for her mentally challenged son. Shot with a documentary aesthetic that includes interviews with families of mentally challenged persons, the film helped kick-start the Sixth Generation of filmmakers (including Wang Xiaoshuai and Jia Zhangke) and their ethos of employing documentary realism to … Read more
In China, homosexuality isn’t illegal, but homosexuals are routinely persecuted by police and arrested for “hooliganism”. The film focuses on a young gay writer A-Lan who, being attracted to a young policeman, manages to have himself interrogated for a whole night. His life-story which he tells during the interrogation reflects the general repression of the Chinese society. The policeman’s attitude shifts from the initial revulsion to fascination and, finally, to attraction.