CUT OUT THE EYES
Directed by Xu Tong
2014, 80 min, digital.
In Chinese with English subtitles.
Er Housheng is a blind musician who travels Inner Mongolia with his lover/partner Liu Lanlan performing the saucy, sensationally bawdy form of musical duet comedy called er ren tai. Er’s female audiences are particularly enthralled with his combination of sensuality, Rabelaisian earthiness, and frankly socially subversive lyrics. Director Xu’s specialty is to train his piercingly observant documentary camera — intimate and complicit, rather than coldly objective — on unique Chinese characters like Er, using them to probe deep beneath the surface of China’s clash of rural traditions with its urbanizing contemporaneity. The result is, on one hand, an enthralling ethnographic showpiece; but it’s at its core a passionate and frenzied psycho-drama of lust, violence, and genius.
Screens with Double Act at 18:00 on 26 April 2016 at the Cinema Visionario, Udine, Italy
Directed by Ding Shiwei
Black-and-white industrial surreal: bodies float between familiar bureaucratic monuments above the earth, while sunflowers lie beneath the earth.
EGG AND STONE
Jidan he shitou
Directed by Huang Ji
2012, 98 min, digital.
In Hunan dialect with English subtitles.
Winner of the 2012 International Film Festival Rotterdam’s Tiger Award, Huang Ji’s brave personal film is one of the most auspicious debuts in recent Chinese cinema. Set in her home village in rural Hunan province, Egg and Stone is a powerful autobiographical portrait of a 14-year-old girl’s attempts to come to terms with her emerging sexual maturity. Since her parents moved to the city to work, she has been forced to live with her uncle and aunt for seven years. Alone with her own inchoate fears and desires, she grapples with a terrifying world of sexual awakening and danger. 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.
Screens with Perfect Conjugal Bliss at 19:45 on 26 April at the Cinema Visionario, Udine
Via Fabio Asquini, 33
33100 Udine Italy
The beauty of independent cinema lies in its independence. The opposite of this independence is a media controlled by a propaganda mechanism under centralized command. Independence, exploration, and discovery grant you freedom.
–Hu Jie (Spark)