Shanghai’s Peace Old Jazz Band is said to be "the oldest jazz band in the world.” The members of band, aged between 65 and 87 years of age, have been playing together at Shanghai’s Peace Hotel nightly for over 30 years. This delightful documentary by German director, Uli Gaulke, features the six sprightly bandmates as they are invited to play at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam, Netherlands—the biggest show of their careers!
Thirty years—a generation’s worth of time—after the policy was first implemented is where Beijing-based director, Liu Hao, begins the conversation. As also the writer of the feature film, Liu builds an engaging story around this timely social issue, allowing viewers to get personal with what’s really happening in China.
Ladder to Paradise (2015)
Directed by Xiao Han and Liang Junjian
Reviewed by Hannah Lau.
In the sphere of international film, Jia Zhangke, is a key player that’s putting China on the map. As a part of the “Sixth Generation” of film directors in China, this group has left behind the epic tales of mythical history and instead, focuses their efforts on capturing the raw realities of today’s China. For Jia, this means that films are more than just ways to tell stories. He carefully uses his craft as a vehicle to commentate on contemporary Chinese society.
Traditionally, film festival pieces are known to push boundaries and be more artistically daring than your average blockbuster affair. But the space in which director Qiu Jiongjiong plays with his film Chi (癡) is one that even has the artistic community a bit stunned. The film, which has been alternately named Mr. Zhang Believes, has been described as a hybrid documentary—one that blends theatrical fiction and autobiography. Existing in relatively uncharted territory, hybrids bravely blur the lines of categorical boundaries.
Strangers Corrie Lee and Keiko Suzuki have just graduated from university and moved to China to start their first jobs. Corrie believes that God has called her there, while Keiko is in it for the work experience. No matter the reason, life in China quickly becomes about more than just that. Through a friendship over email, Corrie and Keiko agonise, laugh, share, and commiserate over the big and small things in life.
- What does it mean to have a fulfilled and meaningful life?
- How can we be faithful to God, especially in difficult circumstances?
- How do we know whether a bad situation is our cross to bear or something to walk away from?