Sheffield, UK

August 11, 18, 25 2016

Showroom Workstation

co-presented with the School of East Asian Studies, University of Sheffield, and Showroom Workstation

Cut-Out-the-Eyes

CUT OUT THE EYES
挖眼睛
Wa yanjing

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 at 18:30 on 11 August 2016

RiverOfLife

THE RIVER OF LIFE
生命的河流
Shengming de heliu

Directed by Yang Pingdao
2014, 101 min, digital.
In Mandarin Chinese and Cantonese with English subtitles.

Yang Pingdao is one of China’s most exciting emerging filmmakers. His astonishingly creative camera eye brings unexpected beauty to his new feature length film. Using an innovative structure, based on the distinctive texture of family memory through space and time, Yang invents something poised delicately between fiction and documentary to capture crystallized moments in his family history, to recreate in cinematic form its emotional weight and variety, woven around the life and death of his grandmother, and the birth of his child. In order to combine extended family chronicle, implicit national history, and intimate soul-bearing autobiography, Yang employs gentle formal experimentation to invent new cinematic pathways.  Opening film and prize winner of BIFF 2014.

Screens at 18:30 on 18 August 2016

Spark1

SPARK
星火
Xinghuo

Directed by Hu Jie
2014, 101 min, digital.
In Chinese with English subtitles.

Probably China’s most important unofficial historian-filmmaker, Hu Jie documents with his camera episodes that Chinese official history, for now, ignores. Spark was an underground magazine published in 1960 by four young intellectuals who wanted to expose the devastating famine caused by Mao’s Great Leap Forward, a horrendous period of national suffering that is still unmentioned in China’s history textbooks today. This is filmmaking as urgent historical investigation: with a shoestring budget Hu combines years of research, and a knack for getting people to talk without fear about the most taboo subjects in China’s recent past. His alternative oral history approach knits together courageous and frequently moving interviews with the magazine’s surviving editor, supporters, and readers, who were ready to sacrifice themselves to alert their countrymen to unprecedented disaster.

Screens at 18:30 on 25 August 2016

Showroom Workstation
15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX

United Kingdom

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)

CINEMA ON THE EDGE