Media

10.18.13

Cross-Culture Fail Watch: “Blacklist” Bungles One-Child Policy

Chinese Internet users have a message for the screenwriters of The Blacklist: You’ve got a lot to learn about our country.The third episode of The Blacklist, a new NBC television drama in which the FBI and a former fugitive team up to fight...

Viewpoint

10.16.13

Innovation in Britain and What it Means for China

Vincent Ni
On the occasion of a high-level British delegation’s visit to Beiing this week, Vincent Ni, the long-time New York-based U.S. correspondent for the independent Caixin Media group, shared his views about China’s ability to innovate relative to what...

Back to 1942 Represents China at Oscars

Kevin Ma
Film Business Asia
China has chosen Feng Xiaogang’s Back to 1942 as its representative at the Academy Awards. The choice was revealed on the Academy’s full list of submissions for the Best Foreign Film award.  

‘A Touch of Sin,’ Four Tales from China by Jia Zhangke

Manohla Dargis
New York Times
A blistering fictionalized tale straight out of China, “A Touch of Sin” is at once monumental and human scale. A story of lives rocked by violence, it has the urgency of a screaming headline but one inscribed with emotional weight...

Love of Sun

Reuters
“Love of Sun” is an invitation to join an exploratory conversation that investigates systems of influence between two world leaders in contemporary culture: California and China.  

Will Wanda Buy Its Way Into Hollywood?

Patrick Frater
Variety
Chinese companies have an unfortunate habit of announcing deals before they are signed, or even agreed on, but Wang’s past dealings and current success give him the credibility that some other wannabe film moguls do not have. 

Zhang Huan’s Colorful Skull Paintings at the Pace Gallery

Barbara Pollack
New York Times
“Unlike Western masters, who will stick with one style their entire life until they reach maturity, I am in a constant state of transformation,” said Mr. Zhang, whose new oil paintings, which modeled after Tibetan masks, are a stark departure from...

China’s Wanda Unveils $8.2 Billion Movie Fund

Clifford Coonan
Hollywood Reporter
Wanda’s huge investment plan is an attempt to turn China’s movie industry into the world’s biggest within 5 years, and includes the Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis which contains a 10,000-square-meter film studio, 19 smaller facilities...

Media

10.02.13

ChinaFile Presents: Jia Zhangke on “A Touch of Sin”

On September 30 at Asia Society in New York City, film director and screenwriter Jia Zhangke and his wife, muse, and frequent leading lady on screen, actress Zhao Tao, joined Asia Society’s Film Curator La Frances Hui and journalist Emily Parker to...

In China, Rural Elderly Are Being Left Behind (Slideshow)

Qilai Shen
Washington Post
Tens of millions older Chinese are struggling with poverty and loneliness as their children flee villages for cities. Decades of societal turmoil — radical communism followed by rampant capitalism — have frayed the ties that once bound the nation’s...

Media

09.30.13

China Watches “Breaking Bad”

Why do millions of Chinese care about a fictitious New Mexico meth cook? The soon-to-be-concluded television drama series Breaking Bad, which depicts embattled high school chemistry teacher Walter White’s transformation into a crystal...

U.S.-China Film Summit Set to Expand

Patrick Frater
Variety
A step up from last year’s edition, the conference will expand to become an all-day seminar series on November 5, 2013 and will relocate to the Millennium Biltmore Hotel. Li Bingbing and Chris Dodd will receive their awards at a gala dinner.&...

Christopher Dodd, Li Bingbing to Be Honored at U.S.-China Film Summit

Patrick Brzeski
Hollywood Reporter
As Hollywood and the booming Chinese film business have worked with increasing urgency to forge deeper ties and more mutual understanding over recent years, the Asia Society’s annual summit has emerged as a noteworthy networking occasion on the...

Conversation

09.27.13

Can China’s Leading Indie Film Director Cross Over in America?

Jonathan Landreth, Michael Berry & more
Jonathan Landreth:Chinese writer and director Jia Zhangke’s A Touch of Sin won the prize for the best screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival in May. Though the dialogue and its fine translation and English subtitles by Tony Rayns are exemplary, I...

China’s Dalian Wanda Group Gives $20 Million to Academy Museum

Rebecca Ford
Hollywood Reporter
The gift, the second-largest commitment received to date, was made as part of the Academy Museum’s $300 million campaign. The Academy will name the museum’s film history gallery The Wanda Gallery. 

Media

09.25.13

The Silk Road of Pop

Nick Holdstock
Most coverage of Xinjiang focuses on the tensions between Han and Uighur in the region, especially since the 2009 Urumqi riots. The Silk Road of Pop, a new documentary about Uighur music directed by Sameer Farooq, is a timely portrait of the rich...

Filmmaker Giving Voice to Acts of Rage in Today’s China

Edward Wong
New York Times
When Sina Weibo made filmmaker Jia Zhangke aware of just how many ordinary Chinese were being provoked by power-abusing members of society to commit acts of bloodshed, he decided to adapt his martial arts film to reflect the issues of the...

Is China Outgrowing Hollywood Film, TV Industry?

Patrick Frater
Variety
While Western media loves to trumpet its successes in China, with the strong showing of Hollywood blockbusters, it’s clear that China audiences aren’t just sitting and waiting for the next Hollywood blockbuster. 

Conversation

09.24.13

A Shark Called Wanda—Will Hollywood Swallow the Chinese Dream Whole?

Stanley Rosen, Jonathan Landreth & more
Stanley Rosen:Wang Jianlin, who personally doesn’t know much about film, made a splash when he purchased America’s No. 2 movie theater chain AMC at a price many thought far too high for what he was getting.  A number of knowledgeable people...

A Yang Fudong Retrospective at the Berkeley Art Museum

Blake Gopnik
New York Times
Yang Fudong is known for using the illogic of European art film (think of Antonioni, Resnais or the later Fellini) to talk about how China’s traditions clash with its modern realities. The retrospective runs through December 8. ...

The Beijing Independent Film Festival Survives

Lydia Wu
dGenerate Films
Although the cancellation of the opening screening on day one resulted in a weak turnout over the remaining days of the festival, it definitely relieved the tension from the authorities, which helped all the screenings, discussions and forums run...

The Death of Independent Cinema in China

Caijing
After wrangling with the authorities all day August 25, on what was supposed to be the opening of the festival on the rural outskirts of Beijing, this year’s Beijing Independent Film Festival has been cancelled. 

Police Break Up Beijing Independent Film Festival

Natalie Ornell
China Digital Times
Directors, jury and invited guests who had come from as far as Sweden were told the 10th Beijing Independent Film Festival were threatened with power cuts and the arrest of Wang Hongwei if they persisted in holding the festival. 

China: When the Cats Rule

Ian Johnson
New York Review of Books
On one level Lao She’s novel is a work of science fiction—a visit to a country of cat-like people on Mars—that lampoons 1930s China. On a deeper level, the prophetic work predicts the terror and violence of the early Communist era’s chaos and...

‘The Grandmaster,’ Wong Kar-wai’s New Film

Manohla Dargis
New York Times
When Ip Man slyly asks “What’s your style?” it’s clear that director Wong Kar-wai is asking the same question because here, as in his other films, style isn’t reducible to ravishing surfaces; it’s an expression of meaning.  

Model Gives Glimpse of Old Beijing

Jin Haixing
China Daily
A model on a sand table, made 64 years ago, replicating the city's landscape in 1949, will provide a bird's eye view after it is fully restored later in September. The model, in the Beijing Urban Construction Archives Museum,...

A Path to the World for Chinese Directors

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
CNEX, a nonprofit, has unique connections in the Chinese Communist Party which help insulate budding documentarians from undue interference so they can film and release films on a broader array of issues. 

Wong Kar-wai on His New Film, ‘The Grandmaster’

Nicolas Rapold
New York Times
It may seem like a departure for the director of lush mood pieces like “In the Mood For Love” and “Chungking Express.” But “The Grandmaster” isn’t Mr. Wong’s first martial arts film nor does it dispense with his obsession with romantic...

Struggling Immigrant Artist Tied to $80 Million New York Fraud

Sarah Maslin Nir, Patricia Cohen and...
New York Times
Pei-Shen Qian, a quiet 73-year-old immigrant from China, is suspected of having fooled the art world by creating dozens of works that were modeled after America’s Modernist masters and later sold as their handiwork for more than $80 million.&...

China: When the Cats Rule

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
In the Northwest corner of Beijing’s old city is a subway and bus workshop. It was built in the early seventies on the site of the Lake of Great Peace, which was filled in as part of a plan to extend the city’s subway system. In the bigger picture...

Inside China’s Hoop Dreams

Clifford Coonan
Hollywood Reporter
When it comes to cracking the Chinese market, Hollywood could take a page out of the NBA’s playbook. “The love for basketball here is just incredible,” says Kobe Bryant.

Amid Tribute to King of Pop, an Echo of Tiananmen Square

Edward Wong
New York Times
 The famous and politcally sensitive “Tank Man” photograph of June 1989 appears during a Michael Jackson tribute concert in Beijing. 

Dispatches From Xinjiang: Cultural Appropriation And The Singer Luo Lin, a.k.a. “Dao Lang”

Beige Wind
Beijing Cream
Luo Lin has in effect claimed ownership over a whole group of people, a sacred landscape and spiritual practice.

Why Aren’t Chinese People Reading Books Anymore?

Helen Gao
Atlantic
China’s once-robust trade in serious literature has withered under an increasingly materialistic, results-oriented society.

What the Word ‘Toad’ Can Tell You About China’s Modernization

Dan Kedmey
Time
While users of a phonetic alphabet can sound out a word, writers of Chinese must memorize a series of character strokes unique to that word, and the strokes have to be executed in a precise order. 

Steven Spielberg Aiming to Make a Film with Zhang Yimou in China

Andrew Pulver
Guardian
Renowned American director seeks collaboration with respected Chinese director on “international film”—their first possible contact since his withdrawal as consultant to Bejing Olympics in protest.

Sinica Podcast

08.16.13

David Moser Interviews Mark Rowswell

David Moser & Mark Rowswell from Sinica Podcast
If you are a long-timer in China, this is a show that needs no introduction. One of the most famous foreigners in China, Mark Rowswell (a.k.a. Dashan), shot to fame in the early 1990s after a fortuitous break on Chinese television. In this live...

The Man Who Got It Right

Ian Buruma from New York Review of Books
1.Near the beginning of Simon Leys’ marvelous collection of essays is an odd polemic between the author and the late Christopher Hitchens, fought out in these very pages. Leys takes Hitchens to task for attacking Mother Teresa in a book entitled The...

M.P.A.A. Chief Christopher Dodd Announces End to China Standoff

Pamela McClintock
Hollywood Reporter
M.P.A.A. chairman and C.E.O. Christopher Dodd announced late on Tuesday that the China Film Group will pay Hollywood studios in full for money owed to them from box office revenue for over a year. 

See You Again, Old Beijing

Michael Meyer
Slate
Banned for more than five years, The Last Days of Beijing was cleared and the author allowed to visit on a book tour. It was said to be banned because the map of China shaded Taiwan a different color than the mainland.

Sinica Podcast

08.09.13

Alison Friedman on China and the Arts

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
The last ten years have seen a genuine transformation in China’s arts world, as a large sector that used to be dependent almost exclusively on government funding has been downsized into the maelstrom of the market, leaving survivors to navigate not...

China Box-Office Standoff: Cabinet to Discuss Tax Issue

Clifford Coonan
Hollywood Reporter
China’s State Council, or cabinet, will discuss ways to resolve a tax standoff that has delayed box-office payments to Hollywood for months and jangled the nerves of overseas producers keen to access the world’s second-biggest film territory.&...

Ai Weiwei Talks Edward Snowden, Nationalism, and Fighting Boredom

Wang Yiquan
Blouin Artinfo
“Nationalism is a very old concept, and it has become weaker during globalisation,” Ai told ARTINFO. “But from the Snowden incident, we can see that even if nationalism is weak, its power structures still exist.” 

Chinese Directors Express Doubt Over Censorship Reforms

Clarence Tsui and Patrick Brzeski
Hollywood Reporter
Filmmakers such as Cannes best screenplay-winner Jia Zhangke have been quick to question the ambiguities of the Chinese government's new screenplay approval process. ...

China Relaxes Some Film Censorship Requirements

Hollywood Reporter
The media regulator will now only require film summaries to be submitted for censorship approval before production, rather than full scripts, for select film categories.     

Scandal in China Over the Museum with Over 40,000 Fake Artifacts

Jonathan Jones
Guardian
The recent revelation that museum in Hebei may be housing as many as 40,000 forgeries has caused the museum to close and many on the Chinese internet are commenting on the scandal.

From Beijing Alleyways to American Byways

Pallavi Aiyar
Los Angeles Review of Books
By zooming in close to specific moments at particular times in his characters’ histories Hessler reveals more about the broader context in which they live than conventional news reporting on subjects such as the Three Gorges Dam. 

Independent Thinking “Not Encouraged” in China’s Film Schools

Radio Netherlands Worldwide
The Chinese authorities have put an abrupt end to a training programme for aspiring independent filmmakers. And there’s still no official explanation why the 9th Edition of the Li Xianting Film School in Beijing was closed down. 

Media

07.15.13

A Rite of Passage to Nowhere

Ying Zhu & Frances Hisgen
Tiny Times, a Chinese feature film set in contemporary Shanghai, made headline news on its opening day in late June by knocking the Hollywood blockbuster Man of Steel from its perch atop the domestic box-office and breaking the opening-day record...

Literary Guide to China

Rana Mitter
Telegraph
Rana Mitter chooses a collection of stories, novels and pieces by writers who either grew up in China or were China implants intended to give the curious a more textured understanding of China’s history and culture.

China Box Office Up 36% to $1.79 Billion in First Half of 2013

Patrick Brzeski and Clarence Tsui
Hollywood Reporter
Buoyed by a surge in ticket sales for homegrown domestic films, China’s box office continued its rapid expansion in the first half of 2013, according to figures released by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television...

Hollywood, the Nazis, and the Chi-Coms

John Fund
National Review
A forthcoming book presents a strong case that pre–World War II Hollywood was in bed with Nazi Germany, in catering to its censorship demands. Is it happening again today, regarding show-business relations with the...

Media

06.27.13

Jackie Chan—The Young Master Comes of Age

Jaime Wolf
Once in a while, if you’re lucky, and paying the right kind of attention, events align to give you a clear view of the future. In 1995, I was in Los Angeles staying with a friend who produced independent films and had the trade magazines Variety and...

Culture

06.18.13

“Walk A Pig on My Bike (2012)”

Sun Yunfan
“Walk A Pig on My Bike (2012),” from their double-disc second album Some Other Scenery (2012), is a new rendition of an earlier song by the Guangzhou-based folk band Wu Tiao Ren. The twenty-one songs from this album (nineteen, including this one,...

Culture

06.18.13

“Water Runs East for Ten Years, Water Runs West for Ten Years”

Sun Yunfan
“Water Runs East for Ten Years, Water Runs West for Ten Years” is a song by the Guangzhou-based folk band Wu Tiao Ren from their first album, A Tale of Haifeng (2009). The songs on this album celebrate the sentiments and everyday lives of small-town...

Culture

06.18.13

The Local Folk

Sun Yunfan
In the liner notes of their 2009 début album, A Tale of Haifeng, Guangzhou-based indie folk band Wu Tiao Ren tinkered with the Communist party slogan “Lizu xiancheng, fangyan quanqiu,” which translates roughly: “See the world from our county’s...

Sinica Podcast

06.14.13

China in Images and Words

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
This week on Sinica, Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn are delighted to host Matthew Niederhauser. A photographer focusing on urban development in China, Matthew has been published in various journals including The New Yorker, National Geographic, The...

China’s Venetian Quandary: Chinese Artists

Kevin Holden Platt
New York Times
The Chinese exhibition at the 55th Venice Biennale, which opened June 1 and runs through Nov. 24, has been organized by Wang Chunchen, head of curatorial research at the Central Academy of Fine Arts Museum in Beijing. Its theme, “...

Media

06.12.13

In Box Office Hit, American Dream Is Still Alive—In a Maturing China

Over the last two weeks, the movie American Dreams in China (中国合伙人) has been the number one box office hit in China, selling over 400 million tickets to date. The movie is a gritty and at times tongue-in-cheek comedy that tells the true story of...

‘Escape From North Korea’ (Video)

Ann Shin
New York Times
In this Op-Doc video, Ann Shin profiles a smuggler named Dragon, who charges North Korean defectors for guiding them through China and Southeast Asia into eventual asylum and safety in South Korea.