Friday, October 24, 2014

A Brief History of Cinema in China

Cinema in China is visually, sociopolitically, and historically significant. Here is a link to my encyclopedia entry on cinema in China, an historical overview that provides a conceptual framework to understand the changes and rhythms of the medium and its appeal to audiences worldwide: "Cinema in China: A Brief History" (2009).

The entry is arranged as follows:

First-Generation Cinema, 1896– 1929 // Second-Generation Cinema, 1930– 1949 // Silent to Sound // Cinema Nationalized // Third-Generation Cinema, 1949– 1965 // Fourth-Generation Cinema, 1966– 1983 // Mandarin Films // Hong Kong Cinema // Cantonese Films // Taiwan Cinema // Fifth-Generation Cinema, 1984– 1993 // Sixth-Generation Cinema, 1994 to Present // Cinema Inside and Outside China // Further Reading

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Midnight After (Fruit Chan, 2014): Mini-Film Review

The Midnight After (2014) is a film in which the inexplicable and the peculiar intersect in the most unexpected ways. Fruit Chan, one of my favorite directors in the early 2000s with films like Durian Durian (2000) and Hollywood Hong-Kong (2001), tells a story here in which a handful of passengers on a Hong Kong mini-bus pass through a tunnel only to find that, once they reach the other side, they are the only survivors in a deserted urban landscape--the reason?--possibilities include time travel/zombies/nuclear radiation/a deadly virus. We are as uncertain as the characters. All we know is that we are witness to the most heinous acts of violence and horror alongside impromptu music videos and wacky humor--all rolled together as only Fruit Chan can do.

At one point the passengers ruminate about the fate of Hong Kong after the upcoming 2017 elections, which is all too relevant considering the occupy movement currently unfolding. In the end, it seems that Fruit Chan is one of only a few directors unafraid to mix genres to this extreme and to this degree of success.

The Midnight After is an adaptation of a web novel by online writer Pizza entitled Lost On A Red Minibus To Taipo. The film has been characterized as post-apocalyptic and as a satire.