China’s greatest living filmmaker Jia Zhangke (Platform, The World) travels with acclaimed painter Liu Xiaodong from China to Thailand as they as they meet everyday workers in the throes of social turmoil. Liu Xiaodong is well-known for his monumental canvases, particularly those inspired by China’s Three Gorges Dam project. In DONG, Jia Zhangke visits Liu on the banks of Fengjie, a city about to be swallowed up by the Yangtze River. The area is in the process of being “de-constructed” by armies of shirtless male workers who form the subject of Liu’s paintings. Liu and Jia next travel to Bangkok, where Liu paints Thai sex workers languishing in brothels. The two sets of paintings are united in their subjects’ shared sense of malaise in the face of the dehumanizing labor afforded them.
Tag Archives: Mandarin
Zhou Yu de huo che / Zhou Yu’s Train (2002) Zhou Sun, Li Gong, Tony Ka Fai Leung, Honglei Sun, Drama, Romance
Zhou Yu, a ceramic decorative artist, travels twice a week from her home town of San Ming to Chongyang to visit her boyfriend, Chen Qing, a government worker and budding poet. The two met at a dance while Chen Qing was in San Ming, his old home town, on a business trip. She is the inspiration for the best of his poetry. Zhou Yu is a strong willed woman, whereas Cheng Qing is a sensitive soul. These differences in addition to the growing disparity in their life situations places an unspoken strain in their relationship, despite each truly loving the other. As such, Zhou Yu befriends Zhang Qiang, a veterinarian who travels on the same trains as her. Like Zhou Yu, Zhang Qiang is a strong personality whose emotional temperament more closely matches hers. Ultimately, the three, individually and collectively, have to decide if, and if so how each of the others fits into his/her future life, especially as Cheng Qing has to make a further decision about his professional life.
Hong mei gui bai mei gui / Red Rose White Rose (1994) Stanley Kwan, Joan Chen, Veronica Yip, Winston Chao, Drama
Chronicles the love life of a man, Zhenbao. He has a steamy fling with the wife of a friend, the saucy and exciting Red Rose. Even though he feels happy with her, he knows he will not end up with her. To maintain his reputation, he marries an antiseptic, frigid but classy lady of a prim and proper background (White rose). Dissonance abound when he finds his bride irritating.
Not far from Shanghai, in a country twon stands the palatial home of the Pang family. Old Master Pang is an addict who brings up his beautiful daughter Ruyi on opium smoke. Her older brother, Zhengda, is addicted as well, and then paralysed and effectively brain-dead. Zhongliang, Zhengda’s brother-in-law, is a successful gigolo in Shanghai who seduces married older women and then blackmails them. When Older Master Pang dies, the clan elders makes Ruyi to take over the role as the head of the household. Zhongliang returns to the Pang family on the death of Old Master Pang, re-encounters Ruyi, and they are secretly attracted to each other. Wanting to seem sophisticated, she succumbs to Zhongliang’s attempts to seduce her. But in the emotional maelstrom that follows – for the angry, jealous and sexually frustrated sister (Zhengda’s wife) is also part of the picture…
Wo de mei li yu ai chou / The Peony Pavilion (1995) Kuo-fu Chen, Pen-yu Chang, Hua-Chien Hsu, Rene Liu, Drama, Fantasy
A teenager called Li Li, always got the same dream. In the dream, she falls in love with a scholar. She finds satisfaction in the dream whereas she feels disillusion in the reality and led her became insane. Accidentally, she saw the scholar in an advertisement.
Xiao sha xing / The Singing Killer (1970) Cheh Chang, David Chiang, Ping Wang, Tina Chin-Fei, Action, Crime, Musical
David Chiang plays Johnny, a reformed criminal turned pop headliner at a hip club in Hong Kong. His past isn’t exactly common knowledge, but it seems to have inspired some of his biggest hits. “I may be small, but I can kill,” he croons in the opening number. Somehow, he doesn’t seem so menacing amid a swirl of choreographed dancers and disco lights … Johnny sure means to keep his nose clean. His former pursuits have cost him the love of his life, who has disappeared. He’s got a great job, and he seems to make plenty of legitimate money for himself and the club owner. But his erstwhile colleagues pop out of the gutter just long enough to imperil Johnny’s whole deal. And it turns out that the club owner doesn’t take such a fatherly and benevolent interest in Johnny’s well-being, either. One more big job is what his ex-friends want from Johnny, and they won’t even shy away from blackmail to get him to do it. Fortunately, a cop who knows the old Johnny and the new Johnny doesn’t give …
A dying teacher instructs his final student to check on the activities of five former pupils, each of whom he taught a unique and special style of kung-fu to: The Centipede, Snake, Scorpion, Lizard, and Toad (hence the title). His final student, who knows a little of each style must team up with one of the other good students to destroy the evil ones if there are any. Greed and treachery ensue as the student discovers that some of the students are indeed evil. But which one can he trust enough to team up with?
In the old days in China, a male servant working in a brothel traditionally wore a green scarf. It was sign of humiliation. In modern times, a man who is cuckolded by his wife or lover is said to “wear a green hat”. The film tells the story of two men -one a bank robber and the other a police captain- who share the humiliation of “wearing a green hat”. Their cases differ, but their anguish is the same. In the end, each makes what he believes is the right choice for himself.
Mingri tianya / All Tomorrow’s Parties (2003) Nelson Lik-wai Yu, Yong-won Cho, Yi’nan Diao, Ren Na, Sci-Fi
In a future century, after the apocalypse, Gui Dao dynasty controls continental Asia. Zhuai and his younger brother Mian are captured and sent to “Prosperity Camp” for reeducation. They soon discover that the camp’s aim is to brainwash people with propaganda. Five years later, there’s a change in government and they are free again. Zhuai falls in love for the beautiful Xuelan and together they take her to an old industrial city, now deserted. They get themselves a place to live in an abandoned apartment and try to rediscover the little pleasures of life.