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Heroes of the East

Film discussion and banter

    TIFF: A Century of Chinese Cinema (Finally!)

    Brian T
    Brian T

    Posts : 319
    Join date : 2011-02-16

    TIFF: A Century of Chinese Cinema (Finally!) Empty TIFF: A Century of Chinese Cinema (Finally!)

    Post  Brian T Thu May 30, 2013 9:12 pm

    I've been waiting for this for a while now, and it's finally here

    The TIFF Bell Lightbox is presenting A Century Of Chinese Cinema from June 5 to August 11, and time, money and family commitments permitting, I hope to take in a few screenings of the 80 films on offer.

    The program includes movies both old and new from Hong Kong, Taiwan and Mainland China, but I'm most overjoyed at the fact that Hong Kong cinema is FINALLY being treated with scholarly respect in a western festival environment. Longtime TIFF programmer Noah Cowan -- who got his start with the fest on the Midnight Madness program -- seems to be the main man behind this, and I'm grateful that the Midnight stigma that often hovers over Hong Kong movies when they play the main festival appears to be nowhere evident, even though many of the Hong Kong movies on offer have routinely been slapped with the "exploitation" label (or something damned close to it) for years, even decades.

    I suppose this new festival is what can happen when your key scholar in attendance is someone like David Bordwell -- who's 90 minute "illustrated lecture" on June 10, "Motion Emotion: The Art of the Martial Arts Film", is officially my top priority -- rather than someone like Bey Logan. No offense to the latter -- although some folks here are well aware of my mixed feelings on the man -- but Bordwell's very presence suggests that the entire film lineup is being feted for its cinematic importance rather than its niche-y treatment in the west as exploitation/grindhouse/Chinatown/exotic fare.

    Most of the Hong Kong films on offer are ones most of us here have probably seen before: DRUNKEN MASTER 1 & 2, POLICE STORY, ELECTION 1 & 2, FIST OF FURY, CHINESE GHOST STORY, CHUNGKING EXPRESS, COMRADES, BETTER TOMORROW, ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA 1 & 2, LONG ARM OF THE LAW, INFERNAL AFFAIRS, CHINESE ODYSSEY 1 & 2, IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE, MADE IN HONG KONG, PEKING OPERA BLUES, BOAT PEOPLE etc, but there's also some oldies on the bill, like THE LOVE ETERNE, 36th CHAMBER OF SHAOLIN, ONE ARMED SWORDSMAN, A TOUCH OF ZEN, THE SPOOKY BUNCH, DANGEROUS ENCOUNTERS OF THE FIRST KIND (!!), STORY OF A DISCHARGED PRISONER (!!). Along with a decent cross-section of items from Taiwan and the Mainland (including old propaganda films!), the whole event seems like a proper primer on the full range of Chinese cinema.

    Nice, too, that many of the films mentioned above will be introduced by people close to them; Nora Miao (who lives in the GTA), Johnnie To, Nansun Shi, Chen Kaige, Ivy Ling Po, Chen Kaige, Christopher Doyle, even Jackie Chan himself.

    Some interesting sub-sections of the program (scroll down on some pages for detailed essays):

    Swordsmen, Gangsters and Ghosts: The Evolution of Chinese Genre Cinema

    In Conversation With: Johnnie To:

    In Conversation With: Chen Kaige:

    Buried Treasures of Chinese Silent Cinema:

    The Golden Age (including some rare Ruan Lingyu films):

    Higher Learning: 4th and 5th Generation Filmmakers Panel:

    New Waves:

    New Directions:

    A New China:

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