China Now: Independent Visions

JUNE 2, 5, 9, 16, 23


6:00pm - Doors
7:00pm - The River of Life / Introduction by Shelly Kraicer

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Presented with Cinema on the Edge

Interesting places make for interesting cinema, and at present there is no more creative, vital, and provocative independent cinema in the world than that emerging from the People's Republic of China. The country is experiencing exciting, unpredictable social, economic, and cultural change, and China's young independent filmmakers have been pouring their creative energy into addressing those changes — whether assimilating, provoking, shaping, cataloguing, resisting, surfing, or advancing them.

The mainstream Chinese film market, setting new box-office records set every couple of months, is expected soon to overtake the United States as the largest film market in the world, but this cinema is tizhinei: within the system of state-regulated cultural production. To hear China's authentic, uncensored voices, to see the country in its full complexity and richness, one must look to outside-the-system tizhiwai filmmaking.

China Now: Independent Visions seeks out talented young filmmakers who haven't yet broken through to the international festival circuit and whose works are difficult to see within their own country. A new generation of Chinese documentarians has found numerous ways to stretch the documentary form in order to capture the new, seemingly unrepresentable realities of their country. Young and enterprising Chinese fiction filmmakers are breaking through barriers, offering intensely personal, absurdist, visionary stories that refuse to speak the glossy fantasy language of mainstream marketability. Video artists working in animation have created playful, vibrant, and implicitly engaged works that provoke as they delight.

These filmmakers have invented a new vocabulary of images and sounds in order to chronicle a present that is changing before our eyes even as it shapes our future. Presenting some highlights from a vast, exciting, and ever-expanding body of work, this series offers audiences a chance to encounter a China — or rather, several "Chinas" — that they may never have previously imagined.

— Shelly Kraicer

Please note:
Due to unforeseen circumstances, director Yang Pingdao will unfortunately no longer be in attendance for the Opening Night on Thursday, June 2.

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Acknowledgements: “China Now: Independent Visions” is a touring series organized by Cinema on the Edge, a collaboration of Los Angeles-based producer and distributor Karin Chien, Toronto-based critic and curator Shelly Kraicer, and Chicago-based filmmaker and anthropologist J.P. Sniadecki. The Cinematheque is grateful to Shelly Kraicer for assistance in making this Vancouver presentation possible.

Film notes by Cinema on the Edge.


Click for film notes + showtimes

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