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China Now: Independent Visions Film Festival


Ford Lecture Hall, Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art Presented with the support of CAPS (Jeremiah/NRC), Academic Affairs, EALL, Asian Studies and Oregon Humanities Center’s Endowment for Public Outreach in the Arts, Sciences and Humanities.

Films will be introduced by China film curator, Shelly Kraicer.


Thursday, October 20

2:30 pm Female Directors 女导演Directed by Yang Mingming (43 min) Two brilliant young women, art school graduates with deliciously profane vocabularies and supreme confidence, talk sex, cinema, and power, as they wield their shared video camera like a scalpel. Yang Mingming’s superb debut is hilarious, moving, and subversive: is it documentary or fiction, or something new that violates both modes with gleeful abandon?


3:30 pm The Emperor Visits the Hell唐皇游地府Directed by Li Luo (67 min) Winner of Vancouver International Film Festival’s Dragons & Tigers Prize, a quietly astonishing tour de force that hinges on a lovely

conceit: relocating to the present the famous story of the Tang dynasty Emperor Taizong’s visit to the underworld. Shot in elegant, black-and-white long takes, the film spins a tale of the local Dragon King river god. Feuding with a fortune teller, he alters the weather without authorization and is condemned to death. When the Emperor fails to commute the god’s sentence, otherworldly retribution is swift: he is summoned to Hell. Li’s audacious use of multiple levels of storytelling and filmmaking craftily subverts every authority.


7:15-9:00 pm  Four Ways to  Die in My Hometown我故乡的四种死亡方式 Directed by Chai Chunya (90 mn) A four-part fiction film that’s as much poetry as it is narrative, Chai Chunya’s gorgeous work, evokes four characters – a poet, a searcher, a puppet master, and a shaman – each with intense spiritual links to the land (the film was shot in and around Gansu province) mediated by four elemental symbols: earth, water, fire, and wind. The film’s logic is dreamlike; Chai builds up a series of striking, pictorially spectacular tableaux. Shot in and around Gansu province. Two young women lose a camel, then a father. A retired puppeteer meets a gun-toting tree thief.

Shamans and storytellers evoke a lost spiritual world that Chai films back to life.


Friday, October 21

2pm-3:50pm Egg and Stone鸡蛋和石头, directed by Huang Ji (100 min) Winner, International Film Festival Rotterdam’s Tiger Award, Huang Ji’s brave film is one of the most auspicious debuts in recent Chinese cinema. Set in her home village in Hunan, Egg and Stone creates a powerful autobiographical portrait of a young girl’s attempts to grapple with a terrifying world of sexual danger. Since her parents moved to the city to work, she has been forced to live with her uncle and aunt. Huang Ji’s visual sophistication, narrative fluency, and technical polish belie her youth. Cinematographer Ryuji Otsuka (also the film’s producer and editor) contributes beautifully crafted cinematic images, fearfully intimate, softly pulsing with light, saturated with complex emotional power.


4pm-6pm River of Life生命的河流 Directed by Yang Pingdao (101 min) One of China’s most exciting emerging filmmakers, Yang Pingdao’s creative camera brings unexpected beauty. Using innovation to conjure the distinctive texture of family memory through space and time, Yang invents something poised between fiction and documentary to crystallize moments in his family history, recreating its emotional weight and variety in cinematic form. Combining extended family chronicle, implicit national history, and soul-bearing autobiography, Yang employs gentle formal experimentation to invent new cinematic pathways.  Opening film and prize winner of BIFF 2014.