Chinese Independent Documentary Film Series in the "Public Intellectuals in a Changing World" Symposium
February 25, 2019
February 28th-March 2nd, as part of the "Public Intellectuals in a Changing World" Symposium organized by the Oberlin Center for Languages and Cultures (OCLC), join the film directors in the Chinese Independent FIlm Series: Oral History, Memory, and Advocacy for Social Change.
On Thursday, February 28th, join director Zhang Ci in Dye Lecture Hall from 4:30-5:30PM in the screening of her film "Faith in Ailao Mountain."
"More than two decades ago, Ci Zhang immigrated to America from China in hopes of pursuing a better life with greater personal freedom. Originally, she wanted to explore writing as her creative medium in her new setting, but once ensconced in the vibrant culture of San Francisco, she began consuming films with an intense voracity. When family tragedy struck, she turned to documentary filmmaking as her outlet for mourning, and captured her mother's health struggles on a small, hand-held camera in their home province of Yunnan. Zhang's debut film The Faith of Ailao Mountain is an emotionally intense documentary that examines her relationship with her mother and birthplace while also indirectly critiquing China's one-child policy and other social issues. She recently shared with US-China Today her path to creating her first documentary, her thoughts on the Chinese film market and her role as an advocate for under-covered social issues." -- IMDb.
Also on Thursday, February 28th, join director Wu Wenguang in Dye Lecture Hall from 7:00-8:10PM in the screening of his film "Bumming in Beijing: The Last Dreamers."
"Shot before and shortly after the Tiananmen Square massacre, Wu Wenguang's 1990 video ushered in a new documentary style in China, focusing on urban issues and operating outside the cultural bureaucracy. The five young artists he profiles—a writer, a photographer, two painters, and a director of avant-garde theater—reject a life tethered to the government yet still hope to modernize the urban cultural scene; their frank ruminations about life, art, and the future are punctuated by groundbreaking verite shots of people doing their chores in squalid back alleys and studio apartments. Wu funded the film himself, using a camcorder to capture his subjects at work and at play, and unlike government propagandists he eschews music and voice-over narration for an intimate naturalism akin to Frederick Wiseman's. Most revealing is Wu's portrayal of Zhang Xia Ping, a feisty feminist painter who suffers a mental breakdown; her delirious outburst is the first such episode to be documented in mainland China for a Western audience (Wu especially angered the censors by subtitling his documentary in English). The last third of the video takes place after Tiananmen, when two of the artists have gone abroad and two more are about to leave. The massacre is never mentioned, but Wu documents the artists? disillusionment and cynicism as unflinchingly as he did their earlier idealism." -- Chicago Reader.
On Friday, March 1st, join director Wu Wenguang this time in Hallock Auditorium at 9:00-10:30PM for the screening of his more recent film "Investigating My Father."
"My father was a landowner’s son and an ex-Kuomintang Air Force pilot, who remained in mainland China after 1949. For survival, he tried to transform himself from a man of the ‘old society’ to a man of the ‘new society’. As his son, I started investigating his ‘history before 1949’, which he had kept away from me. This film documents the process of my investigation over twenty years." -- Wu Wenguang
As a part of the Oberlin Shansi Jacobson-Cocco Distinguished Lecture Series, join Wu Wenguang as a Keynote Speaker on Friday March 1st at 11:00AM-12:15:PM in the Hallock Auditorium.
Finally, on Saturday, March 2nd, join director Zhang Mengqi in Hallock Auditorium at 4:30-6:00PM for a screening of her film "Self-Portrait with Three Women."
"This year I turned 23, the age when women become pregnant with dreams. Yet, even while nursing our own dreams, we must carry the burdens of two other women’s dreams as well. This film began with my own search, then delved into the lives of my mother and her mother, following the blood that has flowed through three generations, in these women who grew up in such different times. As a victim of an oppressive marriage, my grandmother held hopes that my mother would enter a beautiful, perfect marriage. When my mother became a victim herself, she transferred those hopes to me. Marriage may be every girl’s dream, but it is also the murderer of those dreams."