Men Won’t Cry – Traces of a Repressive Past

In Senses of Cinema, Berenice Reynaud reviews a number of movies from the Vancouver International Film Festival, including four from mainland China:

The shadow of lost sons haunts Du Haibin’s 1428, an award-winning (Orizzonti Award in Venice) documentary on the aftermath of the Sichuan earthquake that killed tens of thousands of people, rendered millions homeless and turned the Beichuan area into piles of rubble. Echoing Du’s previous works (such as Tielu yanxian [Along the Railway, 2001] San [Umbrella, 2007]), it is shot in hybrid cinéma-vérité style, with his subjects freely addressing and interacting with him. “Some people thought I was working for television. They would spontaneously stand in front of the camera, to tell me that the Chinese people were lucky. When Chinese people talk about the Communist party leaders, I have no way of sorting out what is true and what is false… Some also told me that is was a system of corrupt bureaucrats, but they said so because they had been wronged.” (18) We see an old lady staunchly defending the government on her way to collect an electric blanket, then switching to angry recriminations after it is refused to her. Other addresses are more intimate. While washing clothes in a brook, a woman describes how terribly she misses her dead children. A teenager looking for his missing brother asks Du “Are you filming this?” A butcher interjects: “You and I are from the same generation. You remember how terrible it was in 1979!”

Se also degenerate films’ post which includes excerpts of her reviews.

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