Richard Peña is a Professor of Film Studies at Columbia University, where he specializes in film theory and international cinema. From 1988 to 2012, he … Read more
Retracing the history of Chinese cinema is like retracing the history of contemporary China. Related articles: Interview with Jia Zhangke, Interview with Wang Xiaoshuai, Interview … Read more
The 43rd Hong Kong International Film Festival will pay tribute to the trailblazers of Chinese cinema – legendary actress LI Lihua and the Fifth Generation … Read more
Abandoned by his prostitute mother in 1920, Douzi was raised by a theater troupe. There he meets Shitou and over the following years the two develop an act entitled, “Farewell My Concubine,” that brings them fame and fortune. When Shitou marries Juxian, Doutzi becomes jealous, the beginnings of the acting duo’s explosive breakup and tragic fall take root.
An aged father and his younger, mentally challenged son have been working hard every day to keep the bathhouse running for a motley group of regular customers. When his elder son, who left years ago to seek his fortune in the southern city of Shenzhen, abruptly returns one day, it once again puts under stress the long-broken father-son ties. Presented as a light-hearted comedy, Shower explores the value of family, friendship, and tradition.
An old leper who owned a remote sorghum winery dies. Jiu’er, the wife bought by the leper, and her lover, identified only as “my Grandpa” by the narrator, take over the winery and set up an idealized quasi-matriarchal community headed by Jiu’er. When the Japanese invaders subject the area to their rule and cut down the sorghum to make way for a road, the community rises up and resists as the sorghum grows anew.
The heartbreaking tale of a young girl sold into an arranged marriage with a 2 year old boy who she must raise as his nanny until he is old enough to marry her. She is expected to honour tradition and to toe the line so far as social proprieties are concerned, but the young girl rebels against the edicts of her elders until at 16, she falls in love with another man… Though set in … Read more
A key Fifth Generation work released during the second phase of Deng Xiaoping’s social and economic reforms, this robust social satire delightfully depicts the clash between the rising class of rapid industrial modernizers and old Party cadres with a serious Cultural Revolution hangover. The film chronicles the Kafkaesque predicament of a bumbling factory translator who is suspected of industrial espionage after sending an innocent telegram that is intercepted by a militant snoop. (The “black cannon” … Read more
Devout Buddhists, Norbu and Dolma live with their young son Tashi in a clan in Tibet. Norbu is a highwayman. After Norbu is charged with stealing from the temple, he and his family are banished. Impoverished and marginalized, they can do little when their beloved son becomes ill. Tashi dies of a fever. After a second son is born, Norbu focuses his every action on keeping this child alive, seeking re-admission to the clan for … Read more
Two blind men pursue ephemeral and unlikely hopes. One is an aged master, a wandering troubador venerated as a saint, in physical decline, waiting to break his 1,000th banjo string, an event his own master promised years before would bring him sight. The other is his apprentice, Shidou, who longs for a woman’s love and is enchanted with the radiant and spirited Lanxiu. The two men are encamped outside Lanxiu’s village, the saint using his … Read more