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Chinese Film Days

Screening program consisting of experimental video, feature films and documentaries, representing some of the most intrigueing of Chinese independent film making to day.

China has for the last decade or more made a huge impression on the international art scene. At the middle of the 90s Chinese artists – due to the opening of markets and contacts with the West – was able to exhibit and make names for themselves in galleries and museums in the West. The struck their new audience with an iconic style and an expression that dazzled with its playfulnes, its high technical level and not to forget its experimental joy. This was a far stretch from the authorized, figurative propaganda art people in the West had come to associate with art from the worlds most populated Communist regime. As in art, so with film and video. Heralded by the digital revolution in film and video at the beginning of the 90s Chinese artists found a new means of expression, one they quickly took to heart. A rich and diverse movement of young film and video artists sprung forth, often with a critical stance towards the society they were a part of.

Presented Artists:
Olivier Meys & Zhang Yaxuan, Sun Xun, Li Ming, Zhao Liang, Qiu Anxiong, Huang Wenhai, Geng Yun.

Curators for the program: Yaxuan Zheng, the Chinese Independent Film Archive (CIFA), Tom Løberg, Porsgrunn kunstforening (PKF) og Andreas Rishovd (PKF).

Kinesiske filmdager / Chinese Film Days is a part of the project Porsgrunn kunstforening Goes China, supported by Telemark Fylkeskommune, Norsk kulturråd, Vekst i Grenland and Sparebank1 Telemark.

Olivier Meys, Zhang Yaxuan
2008, dokumentar, 86 min

Qianmen does not only refer to the city gate to the south of Tiananmen Square, but also the area southeast of the gate itself. Before the Qianmen demolition and relocation project started in september 2005, there were approximately 80,000 inhabitants living there, most of them were local residents who had inhabited the hutongs for several generations or for a great portion of their lives. Located in the very centre of Beijing, this relatively impoverished neighbourhood – hutoung – with an aged infrastructure and dense population has had to come to terms with the inevitability of modernization.
A Disappearance Foretold follows the slow and tough process of this transformation, observing silently what it means to the people who still live here. From one reality to another, one sequence to the next, it brings together different moments and sensibilities and witnesses actions and attitudes, constructions and destructions, departures and persistence. It depicts a seemingly inevitable collapse and disappearance, not only of walls and roofs. It is not an exaggeration of reality; it simply tries to transmit honestly the anger and dissatisfaction, helplessness and sadness, that is silenced in the process. Structured like a puzzle, it offers a portrait of an old neighbourhood during the process of urbanization, a story which happened, happens and will happen in present-day China.
Olivier Meys is Belgian, born in 1974, and educated as a film director from Institut des Arts de Diffusion in Brüssel. He has also worked for radio and done several documentaries. In 2004 he moved to Beijing, where he continued to work with documentaries, both on film and for the radio. Zhang Yaxuan has a degree in Arts from the Beijing Normal University, and is an active promoter for Chinese independent and underground filmart. She also works as a curator, a critic and has published several books. She is the director of CIFA, the Chinese Independent Film Archive. For this documentary she together with Meys received the International Prize of the Scam at Festival Cinéma du Reel i 2008.

Sun Xun
2008, animation, 8 min

In a mysterious dark city, yellow sand storms wreak havoc. Several huge smokestacks located in the middle of the city pierce the sky, emitting black fumes, which blanket the sun. The sound of doctrine rings out daily in order to banish various curiosities about this world. The city is a tremendous prison where history is boxed up like a monster – a brutal, fierce monster. One particular day, people were forcing the screaming Soviet Union excavator to clumsily open the skin of the land, gradually closing the heart of the city…
Sun Xun was born in Fuxin, Liaoning Province in 1980, and graduated from Print Department of China Academy of Art.

Li Ming
2008, experimental short film, 7 min

Comb depicts a rooter do up hair for an unknown person in long hair. It is happened in a process of dismantling a house. In the first part, video materials of rooter dismantling the house seems unreal by the process of speed, sound and rhythmic, purely becomes a visual one. But in the latter part, it treats the absurd story of a rooter do up hair for an unknown person more literally, and more definitely. The film expresses a kind of whimsicality in daily life with recording such a surreal action.
Li Ming was born in Hunan Province, China, in 1986, and graduated from New Media Department of China Academy of Art in 2007.

Zhao Liang
2007, documentary, 120 min

A platoon of young Military Police patrols a small border town close to North Korea. Their day to day is filled with fustrations about their careers and local disputes, renging from common theft to illegal forresting to false reports about dead people. Zhao Liang has said about the film that «is feels like I steal from the people I film. It is their life that has given me the inspiration to create, and that makes me feel guilty.» The film won the prize for Best Documentary at Nantes Festival des Trois Continents in 2007, and the director won a prize at the One World International Human Rights Film Festival the same year.
Zhao Liang, born in 1971, lives and works in Beijing. He belongs to a generation Chinese film makers trying to unite a classical documentary language with impulses for todays Chinese popular culture. As much as the Chinese culture is changing, this again is changing Chinse documentaries. Many of Zhao Liangs works have cleare references to music videos and european art cinema. His films have been screened at many international festivals and galleries around the world.

Li Ming
2008, experimental short film, 7 min

A heap of young man naked and smeared butter on the backs, pursued mutually, lick the butter on other’s back and a little bit of other possibilities of body. The process is fierce, inciting and natural. I just want to express happiness and loneliness behind revelry with this part.
Li Ming was born in Hunan Province, China, in 1986, and graduated from New Media Department of China Academy of Art in 2007.

Qiu Anxiong
2007, animation, 14 min

History is the trace left by time, interleaved, but the reality is not in these traces. The reality of history is just a battle or relay race of discourse power. The Republic is the end of traditional China, and the starting point of modern China, also the cross sword between western civilization and Chinese. That is a fascinating age, but is also a difficult age. The impression of the Republic in this film is like a mirage which always be clear, beautiful and vain.
Qiu Anxiong was born in 1972 in Chengdu, the Sichuan province, and studied at Sichuan Fine Art College. He worked in Chengdu to 1998 and then moved to study at Art College of Kassel University. Today he lives and works in Shanghai.

Huang Wenhai
2005, dokumentar, 85 min

We gives us the voices to the commited citizens of the Peoples Republic who give their all in their attempt to make perfect the Chinese republic. Their goal is clear and simple: When the Republics interrests are in jeopardy, you cannot just sit idly. The reward for this effort is a life filled with political agitation and years of surveilance and constant harrasment. We is a documentary illustrating the danger of searching for freedom in a time when critique implies transformation. Presenting the realities facing three generations, the film gives us an understanding of the persons worries and hopes, and the background for their continuing effort.
Huang Wenhai was born in 1971 and lives in Beijing. He is educated in film art and established himself as a independent producer in 2001. The next year his film “Suburbs of Beijing” was selected to be screened at the “New China Movie Show” in Las Vegas, celebrating the 40th aniversary of the French New Wave in cinema in the 60s. His films have been screened at many festivals and won several prizes. About being a film maker in to days China, he has said that «it is a process about overcomming your own fear.»

Geng Yun
2008, feature film, 108 min

Liu Guanguo commits suicide by poison for the sake of woman. At the point of death he cries, "I didn’t fuck her yet!" Wang Guoqing fights for one of his buddies, with wounds all the body, he dies at the hospital. Without money, Zhang Tieying has no courage to see his favorite girl. Liu Guanfu, the young brother of Liu Guanguo occasionally thinks of his brother, which makes him cherish his life. He knows, nothing would exist in case of being died. The filmmaker shoots these young guys like his own brothers. Their lives in a rough and constrained reality are full of instinct and desire, desillutioned youth in a China that is daily loosing touch with whole generations.
Geng Jun was born in Yilan, Heilongjinag Province in 1976. After graduated from a school, he was once a miner, meanwhile he wrote his first scenario. Before twenty years old, he had done many kinds of jobs, included a job in advertising agency. After his two short films Chinese Hawthorn (2002) and Sporadic Diaries (2003), he finished Babecue with an incredible low- budget, in which the strong sense of lumpen-proletarian makes him different from other young filmmakers. ‘Youth’ still reserved an equally fresh position of class.