Monday, August 18, 2008

The Seagull Foundation For The Arts presents

14:00 16 Aug
Still Life
Director: Zhangke Jia
111 min
Awards:Venice Film Festival: Golden Lion Mainichi Film Concours: Best Foreign Film Kinema Junpo Award: Best Foreign Film & Best Foreign Film Director Durban International Film Festival: Best Direction Asian Film Award: Best Director 2 nominations Asian Film Award: Best Composer & Best Film
Coalminer Han Sanming comes from Fengyang in Shanxi to the Three Gorges town Fengjie to look for his ex-wife whom he has not seen for 16 years. The couple meet on the bank of the Yangtze River and vow to remarry. Nurse Shen Hong also comes to Fengjie from Taiyuan in Shanxi to look for her husband who has not been home for two years. The couple embrace each other and waltz under the imposing Three Gorges dam, but feel they are so apart and decide to have a divorce. The old township has been submerged, while a new town has to be built. Life persists in the Three Gorges - what should be taken up is taken up, what should be cast off is cast off.

17:00 16 Aug
The World
Director: Zhangke Jia
140 min
Awards São Paulo International Film Festival: Critics Award Toronto Film Critics Association Awards: Best Foreign-Language Film2 nominations Venice Film Festival: Golden Lion Golden Horse Film Festival: Best Original Film Score
"The World" is a theme park on the outskirts of Beijing, sixteen kilometers from the Chinese capital, designed around scaled representations of the world's famous landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower or the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The site is seen here not from the visitors' point of view but through the eyes of a few of its staff, lonely people, communicating poorly, a bit disillusioned with life, glittering for the tourists but dull and restricted as far as they are concerned.

14:00 17 Aug
Director: Zhangke Jia
154 min
AwardsBuenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema: Best Film Fribourg International Film Festival: Don Quixote Award & FIPRESCI Prize Nantes Three Continents Festival: Golden Montgolfiere Singapore International Film Festival: Young Cinema Award Venice Film Festival: Netpac Award
Set in Fenyang, Shanxi Province, the film focuses on a group of amateur theatre troupe performers whose fate mirrors that of the general population in China as massive socio-economic changes sweep across the mainland. The film commences in 1979 with the troupe performing numbers idolizing Mao Zedong, ending in the '80s when the shows reflect the strong Western influences pervading China, covering a decade in which China saw tremendous changes. 2 nominations Venice Film Festival: Golden Lion Singapore International Film Festival: Silver Screen Award

17:00 17 Aug
Xiao Wu
Director: Zhangke Jia
105 min
AwardsBerlin International Film Festival: Netpac Award & Wolfgang Staudte Award Nantes Three Continents Festival: Golden Montgolfiere Pusan International Film Festival: New Currents Award San Francisco International Film Festival: SKYY Prize Vancouver International Film Festival: Dragons and Tigers Award 1 nomination Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema: Best Film
Little pocket thief Wu never got away from the streets like his friends did. He realises that he is alone, as his old buddy doesn't invite him for his wedding. When he falls in love with a hooker he is forced to think about his future. Can he break with his criminal past?

18:30 18 Aug
The Blood of Yingzhou District
Director: Ruby Yang
39 min
AwardsOscar: Best Documentary RiverRun International Film Festival: Jury Prize Silverdocs Documentary Festival: Grand Jury Award Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival: Audience Award VC FilmFest-Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival: Golden Reel Award & Best Documentary 1 nomination International Documentary Association: Pare Lorentz Award
Gao Jun, the child featured in "The Blood of Yingzhou District," does not speak a word until the closing minutes of the film. Little is known about him, not even his age. Yet this young AIDS orphan reveals his ferocious resolve to live while his extended family weighs whether or not to keep him. The documentary tells the story of traditional Chinese obligations of family and village colliding with terror of infection, and how these forces play out in the lives of children in the remote villages of Anhui. Framing the film is Gao Jun's search for a family to call his own.

19:30 18 Aug
To Live Is Better Than to Die
Director: Weijun Chen
88 min
AwardsPeabody Awards
A portrait of a Chinese family living with and dying of HIV/AIDS.

18:30 19, Aug
There's a Strong Wind in Beijing
Director: Anqi Ju
50 min
Awardsselected for Berlin International Film Festival
With consummate simplity, Ju An Qi roams the street of Beijing to gain an insight into a culture which is grappling with change but which holds on to recent tradition with a white knuckled grip. Rather than attempt to prise open the culture by asking formal questions, this crew simply asks "is there a strong wind in Beijing?" Like Jeff Krulick's classic pop-culture work Heavy Metal Parking Lot, Ju is not so much interested in what is said but the WAY it is said. It is truly amazing just how much a simple gesture or reaction can reveal about a person and in this instance how much it can reveal about a culture. The crew of three wander unannounced into through beauty parlours, toilets, schools, restaurants, public squares and all manner of locations. They eavesdrop on public phone conversations, knock on doors and generally have loads of fun capturing some inspired moments which run the gamut of hilarious to intensely moving.

19:30 19 Aug
Blossoming in the Wind
Director: Yueling Sun
60 min
Selected for Yunnan Multi-Culture Visual Festival
A record of the blissful journey of a Living Buddha, several of his disciples and the filmmaker circumambulate a holy mountain. The joy endures throughout the film as they march on through sleet and snow .

Fifth Generation Filmmakers

18:30 20 Aug
Springtime in a Small Town
Director: Zhuangzhuang Tian
116 min
AwardsTromsø International Film Festival: Don Quixote Award Venice Film Festival: San Marco Prize
Liyan and Yuwen live in post-war torpor, childless but with Liyan's school-aged sister. He coughs, imagining he has TB; Yuwan embroiders; they sleep in separate rooms. A surprise visit from Liyan's boyhood friend Zhang, a big city physician, wakes up the household. To Zhang's amazement, he discovers his friend's wife is his own youthful sweetheart. Possibilities abound: an affair, an arranged marriage of Zhang and Little Sister, now 16, or simply ending ennui and embracing vitality. Can a stifling atmosphere of Chinese Chekhov give way to spring? Alcohol at a birthday party speeds resolution.

18:30 21 Aug
Director: Changwei Gu
144 min
AwardsBerlin International Film Festival: Jury Grand Prix Golden Rooster Awards: Best Supporting Actress São Paulo International Film Festival: Special Prize of Direction and Illumination3 nominations Berlin International Film Festival: Golden Berlin Bear Golden Rooster Awards: Best Supporting Actor São Paulo International Film Festival: International Jury AwardThe story is set in the 1970s in a small town in China. A middle aged couple has three children. The eldest son is obese and mentally challenged, therefore he is teased and outcasted by others. The second child is an outgoing and energetic daughter, who is not afraid of doing anything to pursue her dreams or to survive. The youngest child is a shy and quiet boy who is ashamed by his older brother and tries to break away from the misery in his family. Breaking into three sections focusing on each of these siblings, the film allows us to look into the lives of ordinary Chinese people the 70s.

18:30 22 Aug
Blind Shaft
Director: Yang Li
92 min
Awards12 wins Bangkok International Film Festival: Best Actor Berlin International Film Festival: Outstanding Artistic Achievement Bratislava International Film Festival: Special Jury Prize Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema: Kodak Award & ADF Cinematography Award Deauville Asian Film Festival: Lotus Edinburgh International Film Festival: New Director's Award Film by the Sea International Film Festival: Film and Literature Award Golden Horse Film Festival: Best New Performer & Best Screenplay Adapted from Another Source Hong Kong International Film Festival: Silver Firebird Award Tribeca Film Festival: Best Narrative Feature 6 nominations Berlin International Film Festival: Golden Berlin Bear
Two Chinese coal miners have hit upon the perfect scam: murder one of their fellow mine workers, make the death look like an accident, and extort money from the boss to keep the incident hushed up. For their latest "mark," they choose a naive teenager from a small village, and as they prepare to carry out their newest plan, things start to get complicated...

14:00 23 Aug
7 to 400 Blows
Director: Ming-liang Tsai
116 min
10 wins
Asia-Pacific Film Festival: Best Director, Best Film & Best Supporting Actress Chicago International Film Festival: Best Director, Grand Jury Prize & Special Jury Prize for Cinematography Cinemanila International Film Festival: Best Actor, Kodak Vision Award & Lino Brocka Award Golden Horse Film Festival: Special Jury Award2 nominations Cannes Film Festival: Golden Palm Chlotrudis Awards: Best Cinematography
When a young street vendor with a grim home life meets a girl on her way to Paris, they forge an instant connection. He changes all the clocks in Taipei to French time; as he watches Francois Truffaut's Les 400 Coups, she has a strange encounter with its now-ageing star (Jean-Pierre Leaud).

17:00 23 Aug
A Confucian Confusion
Director: Edward Yang
125 min
Awards Golden Horse Film Festival: Best Screenplay Originally Written for the Screen, Best Supporting Actor & Best Supporting Actress 7 nominations Cannes Film Festival: Golden Palm Golden Horse Film Festival: Best Actress, Best Costume Design, Best Editing, Best Film, Best Original Score & Best Sound Effects
Taiwanese society is closely examined in this complex political drama that includes elements of black comedy. The underlying thesis is a call for nouveau riche Asian countries to expand their horizons and reconsider their traditional ways. The relationships within the film are quite convoluted. All the characters are somehow connected by blood, friendship, or sexual chemistry.

14:00 24 Aug
Small Station
Director: Chien-ping Lin
29 min
AwardsVenice Film Festival: Silver Lion for the Best Short FilmThe film is inspired by a real story. A 60 year-old woman and her 35 year-old mentally disabled son travel from Taipei to a remote train station in the interior of Taiwan. The son is fond of watching trains rushing by, and they spend the day just looking at express trains ply back and forth, north and south past the small station.

15:00 24 Aug
A Brighter Summer Day
Director: Edward Yang
237 min
AwardsAsia-Pacific Film Festival: Best Film Kinema Junpo Awards: Best Foreign Language Film Director Tokyo International Film Festival: FIPRESCI Prize & Special Jury Prize
Set in 1960, and based on a true incident weighing heavily on Yang's own youth, the film -- which, in its unedited form, clocks in at just under four hours -- primarily focuses on the life of S'ir, a high school student whose civil servant father was among the millions of Chinese mainlanders who fled to Taipei in the wake of 1949's civil uprisings. In the picture's opening scenes, it is revealed that S'ir is teetering on the brink of academic expulsion; like so many of the film's characters, he is clearly yearning for a stronger sense of belonging, and as a result joins a youth gang, much to the detriment of his life at home and at school. In time, he falls for Ming, a flirtatious girl with domestic troubles of her own; this ill-fated couple's circle of friends also includes Honey, an exiled gang leader, Si'r's best friend Xiao Ma, and Cat, a younger boy obsessed with Elvis Presley.

No comments: