Chinese

11 Flowers/2011/China

FiC Rating 4/5
Dir: Wang Xiaoshuai
Why FiC Recommends?
1) 11 Flowers is a delicate and intimate look at childhood during the tail end of Cultural Revolution. There’s oppression, murder mystery, Labor exploitation and so many examples of authoritarian sovereignty over individual rights but it is marinated in innocence and nostalgia, the context of Cultural Revolution is so faint that it’s relevance only comes to light once it trespasses into the children’s small world.
2) Xiaoshuai’s discourse without analyzing anything strolls through history as perceived by a child, the era of political persecution and misdeeds fails to weigh down the carefree and joyous spirit of childhood.
3) Just like the children Xiaoshuai filters out the disturbances and remains willfully ignorant about the topological shift that China was going through.

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Shanghai Dreams/2005/China

FiC Rating 3.5/5
Dir: Wang Xiaoshuai
Why FiC Recommends?
1) Enthusiastically chronicles individual struggle and defiance to fit in a collapsing universe during the Cultural Revolution at it’s peak and reckons with the collective hardships of his country.
2) Shanghai Dreams is a poignant and poetic musing over the hardships of the older generation to embrace a new reality forgetting their roots as well as the hardships of the younger generation whose dreams and ambitions get butchered by a crumbling social order.
3) The individual agonizing existence mingles with the country’s comprehensive grief.

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Hill of No Return/1992/Taiwan

FiC Rating 5/5
Dir: Wang Tung
Why FiC Recommends?
1) The sprawling epic takes place at a mining village dwelling on the human rights abuse and labor exploitation during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan contrary to most of the Taiwan New Wave films that deal with post independence contrasting identity crisis.
2) Tung’s poignant exercise in humanism brings forth a staggering conflict between the institutionalised subservience and the burning desire for liberty, life at it’s primitive and most unsophisticated state marinated in existential malaise meets a poet’s romanticism.
3) Hill of No Return lands compensates it’s technical limitations and quite effectively blurs the gap between viewer’s conscious and fictional reality.

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So Long My Son/2019/China

FiC Rating 5/5
Dir: Wang Xiaoshuai
Why FiC Recommends?
1) Perpetual grief stemming out of intolerable memories that melts inside one’s soul and becomes inseparable with his existence, the permanent laceration of soul that one has to carry to his grave gets partially devitalized by the overwhelming rapport; the blessings of life triumphs over torment in So Long, My Son where the realism of a documentary bearing a witness of China’s impulsive shift towards globalization meets a poet’s romanticism
2) It is a profoundly intimate emotional catharses as well as an authentic documentation of the country’s family dynamics post Cultural Revolution.
3) The bleak reality strikes one with utmost ferocity and similarly the sweeping undercurrent of life’s blessings makes a plethora of emotions to float into the viewer’s face.

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Sill Life/2006/China

FiC Rating 5/5
Dir: Jia Zhangke
Why FiC Recommends?
1) Still Life is an intimate rumination about existential malaise, a poignant illustration of personal distress and widespread anxiety and also an arduous quest against the tide of time.
2) The prestigious Golden Lion Winner epitomizes China’s shift from socialism to state capitalism while retaining the state’s sovereignty over decision making.
3) The intense alienation amidst a rapid transmuting topography of China is another leitmotif in Zhangke’s works, identically the touching depiction of urban alienation is a notable aspect in Still Life that keeps one at the edge of a nervous breakdown.

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The Wild Goose Lake/2019/China

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Diao Yinan
Setting: Urban, Crime
Why FiC recommends?

1) There’s a delightfully elegant balance between Yinan’s style and substances, it assembles the genre tropes and piled up desperation and existential angst is constructed from the same fabric of a rapidly collapsing society
2) This hyper tensed manhunt is flooded with colours and super saturated mood sculptures give unavoidable kar-Wai vibes while retaining it’s originality in every possible ways.

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An Elephant Sitting Still/2018/Mandarin

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Hu Bo
Setting: Town

Why FiC recommends?
1) Some films are pure bliss and they carry some massive magic power of injecting some sort of ‘awakenings’. This is where cinema as a medium proves itself to be more than mere bunch of entertaining images. This film easily joins this league.
2) This deeply moving four hours long film is wrapped by a unique cinematic style tone. The bluish tint proves its worth here.
3) Yu Zhang’s (as Yu Cheng) characterization is stunning and he surely has given a solid justification to that role.
Note: It’s Hu Bo’s first and last film. He committed suicide soon after the shooting of this film.

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A Touch of Sin/2013/Mandarin

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: Jia Zhangke
Setting: Rural, Suburban, Metropolitan

Why FiC recommends?

1) An arresting piece of social and political critique driven by some crazy acts of violence, this is an artist’s howl for the need of procuring individual rights in the middle of China’s recent social unrest.
2) A Touch of Sin ruptures the myth about Chinese national identity and delineates the existential reality of modern China with protagonists varying from a desperate teenager, a social activist, a murderer to a sauna receptionist. Even though rocked by violence, a breathtaking and emotionally rich social commentary is deep-seated within A Touch of Sin.

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