Film festival to precede conference on Chinese film
Four award-winning Chinese films will be shown in South Carolina for the first time at Columbia’s Nickelodeon Theater beginning Sept. 15 in connection with the University of South Carolina conference on “Chinese Cinema in the United States since 1979” in October.
The film festival, a partnership with USC’s Confucius Institute and University Libraries’ Moving Image Research Collections (MIRC), will feature films at 8 p.m. Sept. 15, Sept. 22, Sept. 28 and Oct. 6. Two of the movies will be free.
The conference is set for Oct. 8 – 9 and will include well known Chinese film directors, as well as scholars of Chinese language, culture and film. Panels and presentations will center on Chinese films made after 1979, when China and the U.S. normalized diplomatic relations. Speakers will include Fu Hongxing, film director and president of the China Film Archive; Hal Weaver, director of the China Film Project at Harvard University; and film director Wu Tianming, whose film will be shown as part of the series.
Details on the conference, which is free and open to the public, are available on the USC Confucius Institute website: www.cas.sc.edu/ci/ For more information on the film festival, visit the Nickleodeon website: www.nickelodeon.org/.
The festival will feature the following four films:
- Wednesday, Sept. 15 – “Crazy Stone” (2006). A Chinese “Ocean’s Eleven,” the film follows a group of bumbling thieves who are intent on snatching a precious jewel and who run of afoul of the mob. Among the film’s many honors is a Shanghai International Film Festival Asian New Talent Award for director Ning Hao. Tickets: general admission, $7.50; students, senior citizens and military personnel, $6.50; and members, $5.50.
- Wednesday, Sept. 22 – “Still Life” (2006). Winner of the Venice Film Festival’s prestigious Golden Lion award, the film tells the story of love, loss and renewal in Sanxia, a town flooded by the Three Gorges Dam project and then rebuilt on higher ground. Jia Zhangke directed the film. Tickets: general admission, $7.50; students, senior citizens and military personnel, $6.50; and members, $5.50.
- Tuesday, Sept. 28 – “A Mongolian Tale” (1995). This film is a poetic story about a Mongolian youth who returns to his homeland after having left for 10 years in hopes of rebuilding his relationship with the people there. The film won director Xie Fei the Shanghai Film Critics Best Director Award and composer Tengger, who also plays the main character, the Montreal Film Festival Best Artistic Contribution Award. Free.
- Wednesday, Oct. 6 – “The King of Masks” (1996). This film, which tells the story of one man’s quest to find a talented young man who is qualified to inherit the endangered traditional art of bianlian (literally “face changing”), won numerous awards. Most notably, it earned the Palm Springs International Film Festival Audience Award for Best Foreign Language Film and a Golden Rooster Best Director Award for Wu Tianming. Free.
“A Mongolian Tale” comes from a prominent collection of Chinese-language films at the university. Last October, the university was given a collection of Chinese film -- the largest such collection in North America -- by the Hanban, sponsor for Confucius Institutes worldwide and the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Washington, D.C.
The Chinese Film Collection is a major undertaking of USC’s Confucius Institute, which was established in November 2008. The films are particularly valuable as they document cultural diplomacy, representing what officials of the People’s Republic wanted U.S. citizens to see and know about China after formal diplomatic relations were established in 1979.
For more information about the festival or MIRC, visit the website: http://www.sc.edu/library/mirc/ or call Dr. Mark Cooper at 803-777-2271.