movie reviews

CDT Chinese’s 404 Files: Why Films Get Banned from Douban

In the 404 Files podcast (404档案馆), CDT Chinese tells multimedia stories of censorship and circumvention in China. The following is a translation of the transcript of Episode 36, released on October 27, a deep dive into why films...

Jia Zhangke’s ‘A Touch of Sin’ Premieres in Cannes

Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke’s A Touch of Sin (天注定) screened today at the Cannes Film Festival, where it is being considered for the “Golden Palm,” the prestigious festival’s highest prize. Today’s...

“Flowers of War”: The Reviews Are In

Hollywood star Christian Bale stars in the new Zhang Yimou movie “Flowers of War” about the Rape of Nanking during World War II, which many have seen as Zhang’s effort to secure China’s first Oscar. After...

Web Ratings Disabled For Chinese Communist Party Film

PC World reports on the latest Chinese Communist Party film, “Beginning of the Great Revival”.  Chinese authorities are doing all they can to censor the public’s online reaction to the film. Theaters in China...

A Tale of Nanjing Atrocities That Spares No Brutal Detail

The New York Times reviews “City of Life and Death”, a new movie by Lu Chuan which presents a fictionalized telling of the Nanjing Massacre: History weighs hard and steady on “City of Life and Death” without...

In Search of Remembrance: Jia Zhangke’s I Wish I Knew

China Beat reviews I Wish I Knew, a documentary by Jia Zhangke: Jia’s best films are insistently about the articulation of “space” amid seemingly insurmountable constraints. In these films, Jia strives to engender a state of...

Mao’s Last Dancer

The Houston Chronicle reviews Mao’s Last Dancer, a film about ballet dancer Li Cunxin, who was the first person in the cultural field to defect from China: Directed by Bruce Beresford from a screenplay by Jan Sardi,...

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...

Modern Slavery in Rural China

The New York Sun reviews Blind Mountain (盲山), Li Yang’s movie about human trafficking, which is being released in New York this week: Of all the recent movies to tackle the terrifying issue of human trafficking (including...

China’s Alluring ‘Still Life’ Runs Deep

The Boston Globe reviews Jia Zhang-ke’s Still Life (三峡好人): Fengjie County, which lies along the Yangtze River in China, is flood-prone. To stem the deluges, the region has made way for the Three Gorges Dam, an epic,...

Blurring Reality’s Edge in Fluid China – Dennis Lim

Another review of Jia Zhangke’s Still Life, which just opened in New York, from the New York Times: A meticulous record of a vanishing world — Mr. Jia’s cinematographer, Yu Lik-wai, surveys the wreckage with slow panning shots that evoke the horizontal expanse of Chinese scroll paintings — “Still Life” is an act of commemoration […]

Drowning in Progress – J. Hoberman

The Village Voice reviews Jia Zhangke’s Still Life, which is just being released in the U.S.: More observer than director, Jia is concerned with how it feels to be in a particular environment. His films are predicated on a sense of everyday social flux and, more than any I’ve seen, they provide some sense of […]

“Dark Matter (ÊöóÁâ©Ë¥®)” as Unforunate Collateral Damage – Mark Bell

From Film Threat: The shootings at Virginia Tech shocked a nation, but will their aftermath continue to cause havoc? As a nation asks “why” and starts to formulate theories, one independent film may be about to find itself a victim of its own subject matter. Debuting at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, director Shi-Zheng Chen’s […]

Casualties of China’s Transformed Economy – Jeannet Catsoulis

From the Washington Post: Bracketed by stunning long shots taken from the front of a moving freight train, Wang Bing‘s epic, three-part documentary, Tie Xi Qu: West of Tracks,” is an astonishingly intimate record of China’s painful transition from state-run industry to a free market. Filming between 1999 and 2001, Mr. Wang and his sound […]

Postal Modernism in the Cinema – Danwei

From Danwei blog: Ann Hui‘s(ËÆ∏ÈûçÂçé) new movie The Postmodern Life of My AuntÔºàÂ߮¶àÁöÑÂêéÁé∞‰ª£ÁîüÊ¥ªÔºâ tells a story of love, games, and opera. But what makes it postmodern? Nothing, according to Hu Xudong, a noted columnist, poet, and Peking University professor. In a column for The Beijing News last week, Hu mused on how the term “postmodern” […]

Video: Trailer of the Banned Film – “Summer Palace”

From SFIAAFF: A heady and emotionally charged chronicle of the short-lived sexual and political idealism which swept through Beijing in the late ’80s, Lou Ye’s (®ÑÁÉ®) fourth feature marks a stunning new direction for Chinese cinema. Certainly the most erotic and sexually explicit film to come from mainland China, SUMMER PALACE is ground-breaking in its […]

Ways of looking at Curse of the Golden Flower – Joel Martinsen

From Danwei blog: There’s been quite a bit said about how bad Zhang Yimou‘s latest film is: how Curse of the Golden Flower is all empty spectacle, how its skimpy costumes and blood-soaked finale amount to commercialized garbage, and how its social commentary is superficial and essentially irrelevant…. Seven layers of Curse of the Golden […]

Zhang Yimou’s New Film Reveals Softer Side Of China – New America Media

From New America Media: As China continues its economic transformation and materialism runs rampant, acclaimed Chinese director Zhang Yimou offers an antidote to big city distractions. In his new film “Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles (ÂçÉÈáå˵∞ÂçïÈ™ë),” Zhang returns to his spare, emotional palette with a focus on human relationships. He offers a glimpse into […]

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