2014 Film Society Chinese Cinema

These films are part of a Confucius Institute at Victoria University of Wellington sponsored Chinese Cinema series at the New Zealand Federation of Film Societies. Film Societies are membership organisations that specialise in independent, foreign, art-house and repertoire film programmes. For further details on screening time and membership, visit the website of New Zealand Federation of Film Society.

Fallen City

earthquake

Date: Monday, 22 September, 2014.

Time: 6.15 pm.

Venue: Paramount Cinema, 25 Courtenay Place.

An earthquake destroyed the city of Beichuan in Sichuan's mountainous north in 2008, leaving thousands dead and millions homeless. The Chinese government decided to rebuild a new, improved city just down the road. As the spacious modern apartments take shape, debut director Zhao Qi (co-producer of Last Train Home ) follows three sets of survivors. They are a couple mourning the death of their 11-year-old daughter, a newly fatherless teenage boy battling with his mother, and a woman so desperate to care for her sole surviving relative that she fails to see just how far her life has gone astray. Their struggles with the day-to-day are framed against their country's relentless pursuit of progress; and their stories ache with the pain of their damaged lives. Visually impressive, this is a profoundly moving film, and a testimony to a society's will to endure.
Sydney Film Festival 2013.

Read review and information on Fallen City.

Other screening time and locations:

Location Date
Auckland Film Society Monday, 15 September 2014, 6.30 pm.
Wellington Film Society Monday, 22 September 2014, 6.15 pm.
Whanganui Film Society Monday, 22 September 2014, 7.00 pm.
Palmerston North Film Society Wednesday, 1 October 2014, 6.00 pm.
Waitati Film Society Tuesday, 14 October 2014, 8.00 pm.

The Vanishing Spring Light

Date: Monday, 13 October, 2014.

Time: 6.15 pm.

Venue: Paramount Cinema, 25 Courtenay Place.

gathering

Documenting an old neighborhood on the verge of gentrification in Dujiangyan, Sichuan province, The Vanishing Spring Light observes the final spring in the life of struggling matriarch Grandma Jiang. The quotidian giving way to death’s profundity is the real subject of this effort from Canadian-based filmmaker Yu Xun, and it comes across with enough impact to justify the films’s string of festival prizes…

Spare and unsentimental in his approach, Yu patiently (and inevitably for some, too slowly) takes in Jiang’s declining health as her family members often indulge in spats and emotional outbursts. The 75-year-old woman is introduced after having suffered a near-fatal fall, triggering a stroke; she’s still quite alert and verbal, and smokes like a chimney, but the strain of taking care of her is wearing down her daughter-in-law Xiao Da, married to Jiang’s only son, taxi driver Qian-hong.

Jiang spends much of her time on Dujiangyan’s West Street, fronting the home she bought in 1960. The opening graphic informs that the street is being readied for massive urban renewal, and its age is reflected in the neighborhood’s largely elderly population, congregating at the (illegal) mahjong parlor in Jiang’s home which Xiao manages…

Yu’s clean, sharp HD lensing is incredibly intimate, given the sensitivity of the material, which is borne out by a lack of music.
Robert Koehler, Variety.

Read review and information on The Vanishing Spring Light.

Location Date
Auckland Film Society Monday, 22 September 2014, 6.30 pm.
Canterbury Film Society Monday, 29 September 2014, 6.15 pm.
Wellington Film Society Monday, 13 October 2014, 6.15 pm.
Palmerston North Film Society Wednesday, 22 October, 6.00 pm.