Friday, April 16, 2010

Beijing Screening Wrap Up

I had intended to post this earlier, but time got away from me.  There’s lot’s happening over the next week in Beijing, though with the Caochangdi PhotoSpring kicking off tomorrow, I think I’ll probably spend most of the weekend at the wonderful Three Shadows Photography Art Centre. You can read my post about their activities this weekend on the Beijinger website.

The Ullens Center of Contemporary Art (UCCA) up at the 798 art zone is currently hosting the The ScreenOut Film Exhibition, sponsored by the Guangzhou-based Southern Metropolis Daily newspaper. The SMD has long been involved in promoting China’s more cutting edge cinema, an activity that has occasionally got them into trouble, as the Beijing-based filmmaker, writer and curator Ou Ning recalled when I interviewed him last month for my RealTime article on Chinese documentaries. I’ll be posting my interview with Ou Ning shortly, so stay tuned for the rest of that story.

Back to UCCA – after going through a rough patch last year, the center seems to be back on its feet and has been hosting a great screening program in recent months. You can read an interview with UCCA's project manager of film programs Xie Meng, by my fellow Beijing journalist and blogger Anthony Tao, here.

You can see the full ScreenOut schedule here. On Saturday I'm planning to head up there to see Knitting, the second feature by Yin Lichuan (pictured above), whose debut The Park had a small release in Beijing back in 2008. You can read my review of The Park from Time Out Beijing here. I enjoyed Yin’s first feature and have heard good things about Knitting – I’ll post a review here next week.

On Sunday UCCA is screening Judge, a controversial new feature about the death penalty and organ harvesting from prisoners in China, which is also currently playing at BC MOMA. I’m a little surprised this film is being shown around town given the touchy subject matter, but then I haven’t seen it yet so I’m not sure how it’s handled.

Also up at 798, the Iberia Center for Contemporary Art has a season of documentaries playing until Tuesday, April 20. Given how busy this weekend is looking, and the fact that some of the films are on during working hours next week, I don’t think I’ll be making it along, but check out the schedule here. I’ve been wanting to see Zhou Hao’s Using for some time, so I’m annoyed I won’t be able to get to that screening.

Finally, I recently stumbled upon the online journal The Chinese Mirror – A Journal of Chinese Film History. As the title indicates, the site’s focus is historical rather than contemporary, but they recently translated a long article on Chinese actress Tang Wei (pictured left) from Shanghai’s Bund Pictorial magazine. The actress was effectively blacklisted on the Chinese mainland following her portrait of a resistance agent who betrays her comrades during the Japanese occupation of China in Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution. The mainland’s loss has been Hong Kong’s gain, and Tang recently reappeared on screen in the Hong Kong International Film Festival opener Crossing Hennessey (director Ivy Ho). I haven’t seen Crossing Hennessey yet, as the version playing in Beijing is unfortunately not subtitled. Tang Wei is my favourite contemporary Chinese actress so I’ll try and track down a subtitled DVD in the next few weeks.

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