Great news for us lovers of Asian Cinematography. The British Film Institute (BFI) along with Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) will present one of the largest and most complete retrospective of Chinese Cinema. The films presented will not be only from China itself but there will be productions from Hong Kong and Taiwan too. This awesome event will be held from June until October 2014 so don´t worry you will be able to enjoy the showcase throughout the year.
Each month the BFI will present different programs with different showcases. In total there will be five programs lasting around one month each. During June, The Golden Age the focus will be classic movies from the 1930s and 40s. Also during June there will be another program called A New China which movies were done during the post-war era and focus on melodramas, war films and different satires. On July this change in the Swordsmen, Gangsters and Ghosts program as it highlights popular swordplay, martial arts and gangster movies. The festival continues with the New Waves program in August and finished with the New Directions section on September & October.
The Golden Age
This section will focus on Shanghai classics produce within the 1930s and 1940. Among the films presented we highlight New Woman (1935) directed by Cai Chusheng started by Ruan Lingyu, an icon of Chinese Cinema. Another film worth commenting on is The Spring River Flows East (Part I & II) from Cai Chusheng & Zheng Junli. This two-part movie talks about the daily life of a family after the Sino-Japanese War and is considered one of the greatest films of this period.
A New China
Movies are not independent to political and social changes and Chinese Cinematography is no exception. With the end of the Second World War in 1945 and the posterior victory of the Chinese Communist party in 1949 a new paradigm was born and a new way of making cinema. This section showcases productions that were made during the first year of Communism until the Cultural Revolution of 1966. Some movies that you should see are Shangrao Concentration Camp (1951) directed by Sha Meng & Zhang Ke, Red Detachment of Woman (1961) directed by Xie Jin.
It is worth mentioning that during these years there were movies that nothing had to do with politics. There was a wave of comedies that gave the audience time to relax and enjoy. Three movies to high light are Li Shuangshuang (1962) directed by Lu Ren, The Love Eterne (1963) directed by Li Han-hsiang and Two Stage Sisters (1964) directed by Xie Jin.
Another surprise in this section is the inclusion Cecile Tang one of the greatest female filmmakers during the 1960s and 1970s. The showcase will screen her “opera prima” called The Arch (1968) and China Behind (1974).
Event Highlights (June)
Tuesday 3 June – 18:10 NFT3 – Ticket £6
Sex, Politics and Aesthetics in the Shanghai Golden Age
Dr Victor Fan from King´s College London will present a very interesting talk about the intellectual and artistic contexts from which these landmark films emerge.
Tuesday 10 June – 18:10 NFT3 – Ticket £6.50
A New Nation, a New Cinema: Chinese Cinema Under Mao
Mr. Julian Ward from the University of Edinburgh (co-writer of “The Chinese Cinema Book”) will introduce the audience to the cinema made during the first year of Communism. During those years filmmakers were seen as tools to produce propaganda for the Party.
Wednesday 18 June – From 18:10 NFT3 – Ticket £16.00 (Members pays £1.50 less)
Movies & Talks
During this day there will be two presentations. First at 18:10 there will be a screening of Love´s Labours (1922 – 30min) directed by Zhang Shichuan and Romance of the Western Chamber (1927 – 45 min) directed by Hou Yao. After this there will be a Panel chaired by Noah Cowan. There different scholars will discuss the context in which Chinese Cinema first emerged.
After the Panel at 20:50 Noah Cowan will introduce Red Heroine (1929 – 95 min) to the audience and after this they will screen the movie directed by Wen Yimin. In all the screenings there will be a live piano accompaniment.
Friday 20 June
BFI will present the Digital Release of Spring in a Small Town (Xiao cheng zhi chun – 1948) directed by Fei Mu. This classic is considered as one of the greatest movies ever done in Chinese Cinematography.
Film List (June)
The Golden Age
Spring Silkworms (Chuncan | 1933) by Cheng Bugao – 100 min.
New Women (Xin Nüxing | 1935) by Cai Chusheng – 106 min.
The Highway (Da Lu | 1935) by Sun Yu – 104 min.
Crossroads (Shizi Jietou | 1937) by Shen Xiling – 110 min.
Song at Midnight (Yeban Gesheng | 1937) by Ma-Xu Weibang – 119 min.
Street Angel (Malu Tianshi| 1937) by Yuan Muzhi – 91 min.
The Spring River Flows East (Yijiang Chunshui Xiang Dong Liu | 1947) by Cai Chusheng – 92 min.
A New China
This Whole Life of Mine (Wo zhe Yibeizi | 1950) by Shi Hui – 120 min.
Shangrao Concentration Camp (Shangrao Jizhongying | 1951) by Sha Meng – 96 min.
In The Face Of Demolition (Wei Lou Chun Xiao | 1953) by Li Tie – 125 min.
Parents´ Hearts (Fu-Mu Xin | 1955) by Chun Kim – 111 min.
New Year´s Sacrifice (Zhufu | 1956) by Sang Hu – 110 min.
An Unfinished Comedy (Meiyou Wancheng de Xiju | 1957) by Lü Ban – 80 min.
Red Detachment of Woman (Hongse Niangzijun| 1961) by Xie Jin – 110 min.
Li Shuangshuang (1962) by Lu Ren – 104 min.
The Love Eterne (Liang Shanbo yü Zhu Yingtai | 1963) by Li Han-Hsiang – 126 min.
The Stage Sisters (Wutai Jiemei | 1964) by Xie Jin – 112 min.
The East Is Red (Dongfang Hong | 1965) by Wang Ping – 117 min.
Red Crag: Life in Eternal Flame (Lie Huo Zhong Yongsheng | 1965) by Shui Hua – 137 min.
The Arch (Dong Furen | 1968) by Cecile Tang – 95 min.
The Winter (Dong Nuan | 1969) by Li Han-Hsiang – 95 min.
Execution in Autumn (Qiu Jue | 1972) by Lee Hsing – 99 min.
China Behind (Zaijian Zhongguo | 1974) by Cecile Tang – 89 min.
At Asian Movie Pulse we will try to keep you update of future schedules and highlights. For more information please visit the following link: A Century Of Chinese Cinema
If you wish to see the Full Schedule and Program for June please visit the next link: Movie Schedule (June)