RIDM 2017: Dragonfly Eyes (China – 2017)

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Dragonflies have multifaceted eyes. In Dragonfly Eyes, the first feature from acclaimed contemporary artist Xu Bing, recycled surveillance camera footage and streaming serve as the basis of a flustering work. The plot is constructed exclusively with gathered images with added dubbing.

A woman, Qing Ting (meaning Dragonfly) leaves the monastery where she was educated,  takes a job at a mechanical farm and falls in love with a man who ends up in jail. Upon his release he tries to win her back, but she apparently transformed herself physically becoming an Internet sensation…

Built on a rather conventional drama-love story, Dragonfly Eyes ultimate shape is far from being conventional. Thousands of eyes, recording interlinked stories, become one vision. Multiple people catch on camera Continue reading

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CCIFF 2017: Short Films and VR

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What’s Your Art?’s director Maxim Bessmertny and writer Iam Lam were at the Montreal screening of their docu-fiction about an elderly cardboard vendor and a bodybuilder. Many types of people call Macau home, including 5’2”, 64-year old Lin Yao, and Allen the Brazilian cardio expert and trainer.

Macau may seem to sparkle, but there’s a “whole cake under that cherry.” The majority of the country’s revenue and recognition comes from casinos. There is not much to highlight or support the Arts industry, but Bessmertny and Lam were seeking authenticity in a city of gambling. They have created an amusing comparative study between two people who – at first – appear to have nothing in common.

Through off-camera sexual gags, politely delivered foul language, and a lively interviewer, we learn that Allen and Lin Yao share one thing in particular. Cardio. The streets of Macau and its tourist attractions are seen merely as backdrops as Lin Yao pushes 200-pound carts of cardboard to Continue reading

CCIFF 2017: Dreams of Tibet

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Dreams of Tibet could be a recurring theme of last weekend official selection at CIFF 2017.

In Pema Tseden (some times credited as Wanma Caidan )’s THARLO  (2015)  we follow the path of a sympathetic sheep herder, from  remote steppes, on a difficult journey to self-discovery.  Tharlo, played by unknown Shide Nyima with a shy but strong presence,  is caught between Chinese state bureaucracy (he gets into trouble on the way to take a photo for his identity card ) and Tibetan ancestral ways.

Tseden’s film is obviously Art-house material. It is a drama primarily composed of beautiful long shots in glorious Black and white in which cinematographer Lu Songye lights and framing are as beautiful as they are effective.

THARLO offers an intimate realistic view of its protagonists and their surroundings. With its slow pace and an overall climax of austerity it requires patience. But it is also Continue reading

CCIFF 2017 – the Canada-China International film fest (September 23rd-27th)

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CCIFF – the Canada-China International film fest 2nd edition kicks off today (Saturday september 23rd at Concordia University in Montreal and runs until the 27th.

Films, events, panels, VR and new tech demonstrations are on the menu.

As films screenings are concerned…

You may get a chance to catch up on Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s beautiful and arty, The Assassin or Zhangke Jia’s Mountains may depart in which the life of woman named Tao is explored in three different time periods spanning 25 years.

In Saving Mr Wu HK star Andy Lau gets the JCVD treatment in portraying a star actor being kidnapped for a ransom.

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Mabel Chung’s A tale of three cities is a romance set during World War II and apparently based on the real-life story of Jackie Chan’s parents…

Pema Tseden’s drama, Tharlo, a Venice Film Fest official selection, is about a sheep herder who meets a girl at the local barber’s shop that will turn his life upside down.

Paths of the soul, by award winning director Yang Zhang, is a docu-drama. The 1200 km journey of a Tibetan group on a pilgrimage to Lasa, the holy capital of Tibet.

There is also an intriguing 3D presentation (at Cineplex forum on Monday) of In Pursuit of The General a Peking Opera film introduced by the crew.

All this and more…

LINK : http://cciff.ca/2017/film-screening/

Fantasia 2017: Free and easy (China – 2017)

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In Geng Jun’s Free and Easy, a desolate factory town of northeast China is the theater of action for various characters: a monk, a christian trying to spread the gospel, a crooked traveling salesman, a man in charge of reforestation, an adept of kung-Fu with gentle mind, two cops with doubtful coherence, etc.

Geng Jun’s comedy is a slow paced and gentle absurdist farce. It reveals a gallery of sympathetic, if not colorful (in their own peculiar way) characters. Crooks are incompetent, cops are inept, masters and bureaucrats are amateurs. These characters come and Continue reading