New Chinese Cinema 1992 - 2007

 
 

21 February - 18 May 2008  organized by Marco Müller
During the exhibition "21 Century China"The Palazzo delle Esposizioni is proud to present a superb retrospective devoted to China's independent film directors.  This is the first time that the complete works of China's greatest modern movie directors have been collected and presented simultaneously in the West. These filmmakers have had to carve out a position of responsibility for themselves, devising a personal way of addressing the work on each individual film, highlighting their need to formulate a view of reality and to express that reality by conjugating independence of expression with financial autonomy. This overview is devoted to these new movie directors:  the leading players in a film industry that has finally left the past behind it.


Info
Movie Theater
Entrance in via Milano, 9A
Screening times: Tuesday to Sunday, 9 p.m.
Ticket: full price € 4 - reduced for PdE membership € 3 ; season ticket for entire movie cycle: € 25 - season ticket for entire movie cycle for PdE membership: € 12,50
Spectators allowed in until all places sold out

Auditorium - via Milano 9A
Entrance in via Milano, 9A
Free Admission, limited number of seats available


Liulang Beijing-Zuihou de mengxiangzhe 21 and 22 February, 5 p.m. - Auditorium
Liulang Beijing-Zuihou de mengxiangzhe (Bumming in Beijing - The Last Dreamers), 1990

by Wu Wenguang
Video, original version with subtitles in English (70 min.)
A controversial documentary when it was first released, this film relates the end of an idealistic and romantic era, as seen through the eyes of four artists who wanted to "live for art" in the eighties and then decided to learn "the art of living" in the nineties.


Taiyang zhaochang shenqi 21 and 22 February, 9 p.m. - Cinema
Taiyang zhaochang shenqi (The Sun Also Rises ), 2007
by Jiang Wen

Original version with subtitles in Italian and English (116 min.)
A kaleidoscope of stories that take place in different times and places -- from the Gobi Desert to the magical land of Shangri-Là in Yunan province -- in which the lead players meet in a world of shared destinies whose focal point is always a woman.




Laotou23 and 24 February, 5 p.m. - Auditorium Laotou (Old Men), 1999
by Yang Tianyi

Video, original version with subtitles in English (94 min.)
A frank and moving documentary about a group of Beijing pensioners who meet in the street every day with a regularity that makes their encounter almost a duty; the characters symbolize a world that is gradually disappearing as China marches forward into the modern era.



Mabei shang de fating23 and 24 February, 9 p.m. - Cinema
Mabei shang de fating (Courthouse on Horseback), 2006
by Liu Jie

Original version with subtitles in Italian and English (105 min.)
An astonishing reflection on the clash between modernity and tradition:  China, a superpower surging forward feverishly into the 21st century, has a legal system in which the administration of justice is still entrusted to traveling law courts on ramshackle horse-drawn carts in the remotest, outlying rural areas.



The days27 and 28 February, 9 p.m. - Cinema
Dongchun de rizi (The Days), 1993
by Wang Xiaoshuai

Original version with subtitles in Italian and English (80 min.)
Selected by the BBC as one of the 100 best films in movie history, this film tells the story of a young couple of artists trying to make it in the art world, without realizing that their own relationship is falling apart in the meantime.




Frozen29 February and 1 March, 9 p.m. - Cinema
Jidu hanleng (Frozen), 1996
by Wang Xiaoshuai

Original version with subtitles in Italian and English (97 min.)
One of Wang Xiaoshuai's first films, which he made under a pseudonym due to censorship issues, this movie uses the story of an artist who decides to let himself die of frost-bite, to denounce the fragile condition of the thinker in an increasingly materialistic society.




Wuyong1 and 2 March, 5 p.m. - Auditorium
Wuyong (Useless), 2007
by Jia Zhangke

Video, original version with subtitles in English (80 min.)
A tough and disenchanted documentary on the fashion industry in China and on the impact that the new capitalistic model for development is having on rural communities, this film pits the value and ethics of the cottage industry against mass production.



Biandan, guniang2 and 6 March, 9 p.m. - Cinema
Biandan, guniang (So Close to Paradise), 1998
by Wang Xiaoshuai:

Original version with subtitles in Italian and English (90 min.)
This film was heavily stonewalled in its own country on account of its crude depiction of the squalor of urban life at the start of the era of economic reform.  It tells the story of two friends seeking their fortunes in the big city, where their lives are totally revolutionized.



Xiao Wu7 and 8 March, 9 p.m. - Cinema
Xiao Wu (Pickpocket), 1997
by Jia Zhangke

Original version with subtitles in Italian and English (107 min.)
Jia Zhangke's extraordinary first film, which uses the complex and emblematic character of a small-time provincial hoodlum lost in the midst of huge social changes, to describe the arduous and alienating transition to a market economy.




Dong8 and 9 March, 5 p.m. - Auditorium
Dong, 2006
by Jia Zhangke

Video, original version with subtitles in English (66 min.)
An extraordinary documentary, using the works of well-known painter Liu Xiaodong (whose work is on display in the exhibition) to describe the lives of individuals who appear to have nothing in common with one another, yet who share similar living conditions and who are all players in a story that is still being written.

9 March, 8:30 p.m.  meeting with the director Jia Zhangke and Marco Müller

Zhantai9 and 11 March, 9 p.m. - Cinema
Zhantai (Platform), 2000
by Jia Zhangke

Original version with subtitles in Italian and English (155 min.)
The story of a group of amateur actors whose lives reflect the huge changes being experienced by a country that is hovering between tradition and modernity.  Music, from revolutionary songs to break dancing, is the leading character in this film, and it becomes the metaphor of a society obsessed by money, blindly importing the Western lifestyle wholesale.



Yangguang canlan de rizi12 and 14 March, 9 p.m. - Cinema
Yangguang canlan de rizi (In the Heat of the Sun), 1994
by Jiang Wen

Original version with subtitles in Italian and English (128 min.)
The first film ever to show the Cultural Revolution in a nostalgic light, this movie recounts the memories of people who were young at the time; but it is also, and perhaps above all, a reflection on how difficult it is to have memories in a country that keeps rewriting its own history.



Tiexi qu15 and 16 March, 10 p.m. - Auditorium
Tiexi qu (West of the Tracks), 2003
by Wang Bing

Video, original version with subtitles in English (555 min.)
An epic documentary lasting fully nine hours, this film uses workers' lives to illustrate the slow decline of an industrial area in Shenyang, initially held up as a shining example of the socialist economy and then sacrificed on the altar of economic reform.



Wuqiong dong15 and 16 March, 9 p.m. - Cinema
Wuqiong dong (Perpetual Motion), 2005
by Ning Ying

Original version with subtitles in Italian and English (86 min.)
A revolutionary film that smashed the taboo of the submissive Oriental woman incapable of fully expressing herself, this is a tale of high passion and repressed desire told in a language that gets freer and more courageous as the story unfolds.




15 March, 20:30 p.m. meeting with the director Ning Ying


Youchai18 and 19 March, 9 p.m. - Cinema
Youchai (Postman), 1995
by He Jianjun

Original version with subtitles in Italian and English (101 min.)
Through the intense character study of a postman who cannot find any meaning in his own life so he seeks it in the lives of others, this film explores the link between voyeurism, sexuality and the failure of conscience.



Mosheng tiantang21 and 22 March, 5 p.m. - Auditorium
Mosheng tiantang (The Estranged Paradise), 2002
by Yang Fudong

Video, original version with subtitles in English (76 min.)
A poetic meditation by this extraordinary artist, one of whose works is on display in the exhibition, the film starts with the organization of space in traditional Chinese painting, moves in time to changes in the lead actor's moods, and ends up deciphering the interior space of modern Chinese thought.



Cry Woman21 and 22 March, 9 p.m. - Cinema
Kuqi de nüren (Cry Woman), 2002
by Liu Bingjian

Original version with subtitles in Italian and English (91 min.)
The story of an impromptu hired mourner, this movie is a very amusing and provoking story of Chinese womanhood, a symbol of strength, determination and the ability to survive, helped along by a solid dose of theatrical style and romanticism.


Frozen27 March, 9 p.m. - Cinema
Jidu hanleng (Frozen), 1996
by Wang Xiaoshuai

Original version with subtitles in Italian and English (97 min.)
One of Wang Xiaoshuai's first films, which he made under a pseudonym due to censorship issues, this movie uses the story of an artist who decides to let himself die of frost-bite, to denounce the fragile condition of the thinker in an increasingly materialistic society.



Biandan, guniang28 March, 9 p.m. - Cinema
Biandan, guniang (So Close to Paradise), 1998
by Wang Xiaoshuai:

Original version with subtitles in Italian and English (90 min.)
This film was heavily stonewalled in its own country on account of its crude depiction of the squalor of urban life at the start of the era of economic reform.  It tells the story of two friends seeking their fortunes in the big city, where their lives are totally revolutionized.



Shan qing shui xiu 29 and 30 March, 5 p.m. - Auditorium
Shan qing shui xiu (The Only Sons), 2003
by Gan Xiao'er

Video, original version with subtitles in English (100 min.)
The first movie to be inspired by the Christian faith, this film tells a tragic tale set in a Christian community in China, where political tyranny is intermingled with poverty and religious oppression.




Wushan yunyu30 March and 8 April, 9 p.m. - Cinema
Wushan yunyu (In Expectation), 1996
by Zhang Ming

Original version with subtitles in Italian and English (96 min.)
A wistful love story where, just below the surface of daily life, we can perceive a deeper drama unfolding, pointing to existential problems and to the eternal hope of finding a meaning to life.




Diciasette anni8 and 9 April, matinée for schools - Cinema
Diciassette Anni (Seventeen Years), 1999
by Zhang Yuan

Italian version (90 min.)
The penitentiary is the backdrop for Zhang Yuan's first film officially distributed in China.  Based on a real story, it tells of the return of a young girl sentenced to 17 years in jail, who returns to her family accompanied by a young prison warden.




Lai xiaozi9 and 11 April, 9 p.m. - Cinema
Lai xiaozi (Walking on the Wild Side), 2006
by Han Jie

Original version with subtitles in Italian and English (89 min.)
An astonishing study of youngsters adrift in a merciless reality, based on the director's own personal experience and on the experience of people he has met, this film belongs to the neo-realist movie tradition which first saw the light of day in Jia Zhangke's work.



La guerra dei fiori10 and 11 April, matinée for schools - Cinema
La Guerra dei fiori rossi (Little Red Flowers), 2006
by Zhang Yuan
Italian version (90 min.)

This is a film on a child's microcosm that reflects grownup society:  Young Qiang, an individualist in miniature, finds it difficult to adapt to group discipline.  A deliberate provocation of a movie, it asks more questions than it provides answers.




Mangzhong12 and 13 April, 5 p.m. - Auditorium
Mangzhong (Grain in the Ear), 2005
by Zhang Lü

Video, original version with subtitles in English (109 min.)
A social melodrama based on a true story and set in the context of the Korean ethnic minority in northern China, this is a film that its director has called "antiterrorist", a condemnation of hatred and vengeance.




Dongci bianwei12 and 13 April, 9 p.m. - Cinema
Dongci bianwei (Conjugation), 2001
by Tang Xiaobai

Original version with subtitles in Italian and English (97 min.)
Recounting the fragile search for happiness of an idealistic generation whose dreams were shattered in Tiananmen Square, this movie tells a story of silence and repression through the eyes of the leading players in the drama and their small, daily gestures.



La guerra dei fiori15 and 16 April, 9 p.m. - Cinema
Fusheng (Bliss), 2006
by Sheng Zhimin

Original version with subtitles in Italian and English (96 min.)
This introspective movie, filmed in neo-realist style and set against a dank and misty provincial backdrop, revolves around the changes that have taken place in the institution of the family and marriage in contemporary China.



18 and 19 April, 9 p.m. - Cinema SURPRISE FILM

 

Haoduo dami

19 and 20 April, 5 p.m. - Auditorium
Haoduo dami (So Much Rice), 2005
by Li Hongqi

Video, original version with subtitles in English (78 min.)
Writer and director Li Hongqi called this film "a rather awkward and sad joke".  The sentimental and ironic story of a person seeking his true self, this film is surreal in tone yet firmly anchored in the reality of contemporary China.





Mama20 and 22 April, 9 p.m. - Cinema
Mama (Mum), 1992
by Zhang Yuan

Original version with subtitles in Italian and English (83 min.)
A trail-blazing film in the history of independent movie-making that addresses with candid honesty a topic previously considered taboo:  it tells the story of the intense and dramatic relationship between an unmarried mother and her seriously disabled child.



22 April, 20:30 p.m. meeting with the director Zhang Yuan and Marco Müller


Beijing zazhong24 and 26 April, 9 p.m. - Cinema
Beijing zazhong (Beijing Bastards), 1993
by Zhang Yuan

Original version with subtitles in Italian and English (95 min.)
The first movie to dare talk about the nihilism of the youngsters who survived Tiananmen, about the underground music culture in Beijing, about sex, drugs and rock & roll.  Banned by the official censors, this is the first depiction of a crucial moment in the country's history.



Niupi26 and 27 April, 5 p.m. - Auditorium
Niupi (Oxhide), 2005
by Liu Jiayin

Video, original version with subtitles in English (110 min.)
An extremely innovative movie comprising only 23 fixed frames, this film is a moving and ironic comment on the difficulties that different generations have in communicating with one another, and on the daily struggle of all those whom modernization has left behind.




Donggong xigong30 April and 2 May, 9 p.m. - Cinema
Donggong xigong (East Palace, West Palace), 1996
by Zhang Yuan

Original version with subtitles in Italian and English (93 min.)
The first theme-based film to address the issue of homosexuality in China, this movie uses the story of a scandalous and impossible passion to offer support and encouragement to all those brave enough to stand by their difference in a conformist society.



Fengkuang yingyu3 and 4 May, 9 p.m. - Cinema
Fengkuang yingyu (Crazy English), 1999
by Zhang Yuan

Original version with subtitles in Italian and English (90 min.)
An ironic and surreal documentary on Li Yang, a self-taught teacher who stages mass events in the course of which teaching English gets mixed up with patriotic rallies, motivating speeches and collective self-awareness.





Yeche6 and 7 May, 9 p.m. - Cinema
Yeche (Night Train), 2007
by Diao Yi'nan

Original version with subtitles in Italian and English (94 min.)
An unsettling reflection on the fragility of the human condition, this is the story of an intense and dangerous relationship between two people with their hidden quota of tragic secrets and repressed desires.




Yanmo10 and 11 May, 5 p.m. - Auditorium
Yanmo (Before the Flood), 2005
by Li Yifan & Yan Yu

Video, original version with subtitles in English (143 min.)
Testifying to the price that China is having to pay for its economic development, this stunning documentary tracks the disappearance of a city and its inhabitants' relocation, as their homes are sacrificed to make way for the construction of the largest dam in the world.



Xiaoshuo15 and 16 May, 5 p.m. - Auditorium
Xiaoshuo (The Obscure), 2000-2007
by Lü Yue

Video, original version with subtitles in English (84 min.)
A reflection on the present state of culture in China, based on the thoughts voiced by some of the country's leading intellectuals as they meet at a conference to discuss whether or not poetry -- and thus culture in the broader sense -- is a "futile" activity, a luxury that we can no longer afford today.



San 17 and 18 May, 5 p.m. - Auditorium
San (Umbrella), 2007
by Du Haibin

Video, original version with subtitles in English (93 min.)
With the economic reforms launched in the early eighties, many farmers decided to leave the countryside.  This documentary follows their progress, reminding us that the pursuit of economic development comes at a very high price in social, and especially human, terms.


 

 

 






















































 


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