“Earthquake in China” Whenever these words are heard, the first thing that comes to mind is usually the devastation in Sichuan province that took place in 2008. But for those who are old enough to have been around for it, they’ll also think of the Tangshan earthquake of 1976. The magnitude 7.5 quake claimed the lives of 240,000 people who lived in the industrial city of Tangshan, located 140 kilometers away from Beijing. This tragic event in history is the starting point in director Feng Xiaogang’s film Aftershock.
Shanghai’s Peace Old Jazz Band is said to be "the oldest jazz band in the world.” The members of the 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!
As the new year kicks off we’d like to suggest some additions to your 2017 reading list. Last year members of our team along with several of ChinaSource’s regular contributors were busy with book projects. Here we share some of the fruits of their labors. Each of the books presents a different perspective on China. Together they help fill out the very dynamic picture of what God is doing in China today.
I just returned from a 5400-mile road trip from Minnesota to Newfoundland, Canada (and back).
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.
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.
When it comes to China reporting, two of my favorite writers are Peter Hessler and Evan Osnos, both of whom write for The New Yorker. They recently took part in a forum hosted by Asia Society to examine four decades of reporting on China by the magazine. Editor David Remnick moderated the event, and joining the conversation were three other New Yorker writers, Orville Schell, Zha Jianying, and Jiayang Fan.