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Century of Chinese Cinema season at the BFI in London


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One for the Londoners mainly, but any film buffs out of town may well want to come in and enjoy the fun.

I've mentioned this before, but film times are out now and I thought it deserved its own topic.


The whole season lasts five months, starting in June with logically enough, early films from the 30s and 40s, the Golden Age, and the post-1949 A New China


I'm no film buff and I don't recognise the majority of these movies, but perhaps people can weigh in with recommendations. Spring Silkworms (春蚕) I remember being described as a classic, Street Angel 马路天使 also. An Unfinished Comedy (没有完成的戏剧) I've never heard of, but a 1957 'radical critique of Party censorship'? Tempting.


Red Detachment of Women (红色娘子军)and The East is Red (东方红) I've obviously heard of, but not sure I need to see them.


Getting an extended run, and I think the must-see film for June, is a restored Springtime in a Small Town (小城之春). This is a gorgeous film (and is of course the original, not the remake). Although I think it's available on archive.org if you want to save more money for popcorn...


I think what I'll do is book for Springtime in a Small Town, then see what cheap (some seats at £6 on Tuesdays) tickets I can get. (hang on, tickets not on sale till the 13th for non-members). 


So that's June. Looking forward to July. 

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I am just working out which to see in June. I had forgotten it goes on longer. I miss a diagram showing which are on which days, to save clicking around.


If anyone can fill me in on where to watch some of these online, I'd be grateful. Because I can't sensibly see as many of them as I'd like and I don't know when the opportunity will come again.  I actually have a DVD of Springtime in a Small Town, although I expect the restored version in the BFI will be better quality.


I have noted New women, New Year Sacrifice (Lu Xun), Parent's Hearts, This whole life of mine, Love Eterne, Two stage sisters, China Behind and The Winter. China Behind apparently shows up the false promises of both communism and capitalism.

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I'd never heard of Jia Zhangke before (is that shameful?,)but I will keep an eye out for more of his work. I'm even considering going to see A Touch of Sin again :D


I do remember taking note of Spring in a Small Town, I must find out when that is coming on (or if I've missed it already).

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I just found out about this today and have already spent £80+.  That could add up to a lot over 5 months.


I'm a Mandarin learner married to a Chinese and am currently trying to soak up as much Chinese culture as possible.  I've seen a few Chinese films in the past, recently including Aftershock, Assembly, A Touch Of Sin as a beginner Mandarin speaker, and a few years back Lust / Caution, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and the other Kung Fu films that were marketed heavily in the UK in the last decade, and a few Kar Wai Kong movies but that was all before I could speak Chinese.


I feel this is going to be an incredible insight into modern Chinese culture and wish I had both the money and time to see many more of these films.


Is anyone going to any of the talks?  I'm going to the Introduction to a Century of Chinese Cinema late in June.

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I've booked for Spring in a Small Town. I'm going to hold off on booking too many for June, I suspect that there are going to be plenty I want to spend my hard-earned cash on coming up in future months. Particularly keen on getting to see some Wong Kar-wai on the big screen. 

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I think the trailer on this page is new (although I've seen it at the BFI).


What films can we spot? 


I got these: In the Mood for Love and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Gong Li in I think Qiu Ju, Infernal Affairs, Chongqing Express, Bruce Li (not sure which movie), Jackie Chan's in there. The Zhang Ziyi shot, is that 2046?

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July's out! Members-only booking, but we can see what we've got. Swordsmen, Gangsters, and Ghosts


At the moment I'd like to see...

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. I don't care if it's not Chinese enough, it's still a fine movie, and will look great on the big screen. Subtitled as well, bonus. 

Infernal Affairs. 对不起,我是警察。Great fun. And it's in Cantonese, which means I'll walk out of the cinema adding 'waaaah' to the end of every sentence. Double bonus. 


The others...oh, there's a lot of names I recognise there, but I don't actually know what's worth seeing. Anyone?

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The others...oh, there's a lot of names I recognise there, but I don't actually know what's worth seeing. Anyone?


I'd say every movie except The Banquet. Otherwise it looks like they did a very good job picking good/historic films.  "Once Upon a Time from China: Chinese Martial Arts Cinema and its Transnational Evolution" is an 'illustrated lecture,' no idea of the quality.

The descriptions seem pretty good, but if anyone has specific questions, ask away.

I would say their selections were on the tamer side. A good supplement to the selected films would be:

Green Snake (1993)

Mr Vampire

Swordsman II


Chinese Ghost Story (1987)

The Bride with White Hair

The Blade

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