Between Disorder and Unexpected Pleasures

Between Disorder and Unexpected Pleasures: Tales from the New Chinese Cinema

Jack H. Skirball Series

 

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.


April 1, 2011, Curators' Update: Contrary to an erroneous suggestion in a publication, the films in this series are not of or about an oppositional movement. Rather, they are new works the curators have deemed worthy of honoring, in a long-standing series dedicated to promoting cultural exchange and mutual understanding between the U.S. and China.

 

Wednesday, April 6 | 8:30 pm

ZHU WEN: THOMAS MAO (XIAO DONGXI)

Los Angeles premiere | 2010, 80 min., DigiBeta

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?

 

Thursday, April 7 | 8:30 pm 

LI HONGQI: WINTER VACATION (HANJIA)

Los Angeles premiere | 2010, 91 min., HDCAM

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.

 

Friday, April 8 | 8:30 pm

LIU JIAYIN: OXHIDE II (NIUPI II)

Los Angeles premiere | 2009, 133 min., DigiBeta

In 2004, at 23, Liu Jiayin stunned the world by shooting Oxhide in CinemaScope in her parents’ 50-square-meter apartment. She is back at REDCAT with an even bolder “sequel.” More tightly constructed—nine shots that go around a kitchen/workshop/dining table in 45-degree increments, performing a complete 180-degree match—Oxhide II is also dryly humorous, intelligent and insightful, deconstructing the dynamics of a family in crisis.

 

Saturday, April 9 | 3:00 pm

HAO JIE: SINGLE MAN (GUANGYUN)

U.S. premiere | 2010, 95 min., HDCAM

“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

 

Saturday, April 9 | 7:00 pm

HUANG WEIKAI: DISORDER (XIAN ZAI SHI GUO QU DE WEI LAI) 

Los Angeles premiere | 2009, 58 min., DVCAM

A splendid, original experiment on how to translate urban texture on the screen. Huang Weikai collected more than 1,000 hours of footage shot by amateurs and journalists in the streets of Guangzhou. He then selected 20-odd incidents, reworked the images into quasi-surreal grainy black-and-white and montaged them to create a kaleidoscopic view of the great southern metropolis, in all her vibrant, loud and mean chaos.

 

Saturday, April 9 | 9:30 pm

JIA ZHANGKE: I WISH I KNEW (HAI SHANG CHUAN QI)

Los Angeles premiere | 2010, 138 min., HDCAM

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.

Curated by Cheng-Sim Lim and Bérénice Reynaud.

Advanced Curators' Notes

Program presented in collaboration with Museum of the Moving Image (NY), Pomona College Art Museum, UCLA Film & Television Archive, Los Angeles Filmforum and Echo Park Film Center.

Funded in part with generous support from Wendy Keys and Donald Pels.

Additional funding provided by the UCLA Confucius Institute.

Associated Images: 

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Date/TimeGSTCA
WED 4/6
8:30 pm
$9$7$5
THURS 4/7
8:30 pm
$9$7$5
FRI 4/8
8:30 pm
$9$7$5
SAT 4/9
3:00 pm
$9$7$5
SAT 4/9
7:00 pm
$9$7$5
SAT 4/9
9:30 pm
$9$7$5

G - General Audience

M - REDCAT Members

ST - Students

CA - CalArts Students/Faculty/Staff