Limitless Cinema in Broken English

August 21, 2008

I FILM MY VILLAGE (2006, Shao Yuzhen, A+++++)

Filed under: Uncategorized — celinejulie @ 10:35 pm

One thing that I like very much in the Marathon Thai Short Film Festival is the films made by rural people. Most of these films are strange to me. They don’t observe the aesthetic rules like most film university students do. I think the number of Thai provincial filmmakers is increasing because the filmmaking technology gets cheaper and cheaper. I’m curious if there will be a new kind of film language emerging after many rural people start making their own films.

This kind of thing reminds me of the stories about Jean Rouch and Aleksandr Medvedkin. I have heard that they used to teach some native or rural people to make their own films.

It also reminds me of a Chinese omnibus film I saw in June. It is VILLAGERS’ DOCUMENTARY PROJECT (2006, Wu Wenguang, A). I think you can still watch this film at Conference of Birds Gallery.

You can read the details of this omnibus film here:
http://conferenceofbirds.hi5.com/friend/profile/displayJournal.do?viewother=true&ownerId=47945001

The omnibus film opens with an introductory short film called SEEN AND HEARD (2006, Jian Yi, A), and then it is followed by 10 short films.

In my roughly preferential order

1.I FILM MY VILLAGE (2006, Shao Yuzhen, Beijing, A++++++++++)

2.DID YOU GO BACK TO VOTE? (2006, Yi Chujian, Zhejiang, A+)

3.THE QUARRY (2006, Jia Zhitan, Hu’nan Province, A+)

4.THE SPIRIT MOUNTAIN (2006, Tshe Ring Sqrolma, Yunnan Province, A+)

5.LAND DISTRIBUTION (2006, Wang Wei, Shandong Province, A+)

6.RETURNING HOME FOR THE ELECTION (2006, Ni Nianghui, Hubei Province, A+/A)

7.A WELFARE COUNCIL (2006, Nong Ke, Guangxi Province, A)

8.A FUTILE ELECTION (2006, Zhang Huancai, Shaanxi Province, A-)

9.VILLAGE HEAD WU AIGUO (2006, Zhou Cengjia, Hu’nan Province, A-)

10.OUR VILLAGE COMMITTEE (2006, Fu Jiachong, He’nan Province, A-)

The images are from Conference of Birds Gallery’s Hi5.

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1 Comment »

  1. This is my reply to Renegade Eye in my bilingual blog:
    http://celinejulie.blogspot.com/2008/08/i-film-my-village-2006-shao-yuzhen.html

    Yes, I think it’s very interesting.

    I think that these Thai rural filmmakers make films which are different from urban Thai filmmakers, though I can’t describe exactly the differences between them. I wish some great critics would do that job—analyzing these provincially made films.

    There are many things which come to my mind when I think about these topics, including:

    1.Since each human being is different from one another, each rural filmmaker is also different from one another. So it may be very difficult to find many common characteristics between them.

    2.I think most of the rural filmmakers are influenced or are exposed to the urban lifestyle or the globalization to some degrees. Some rural filmmakers may be internet addicts. Some may be addicted to Thai TV series about urban lives. So many rural filmmakers do not make films which are purely rural. Many rural filmmakers make films which contain both rural feelings and urban feelings. And I love these mixing of things, because that’s what humans are—being influenced by many things in life.

    About twenty years ago, I saw a Thai TV program which interviewed a Thai man who looked like an ordinary farmer. He lived in a rural area, but loved listening to Natalie Cole.

    I imagine that if that Thai guy wants to make a film about his rural life, he should put his favorite song from Natalie Cole into his film. Some critics may not like this kind of thing. Some critics may say Natalie Cole’s songs are not fit with films about Thai rural life. But I don’t care about these critics. I want to see a film which shows the true essence of the filmmaker, the true essence which is very complicated and may be full of things which should not be together.

    Some filmmakers may make films which can be considered great works of art, because their films conform to aesthetic rules and everything in their films seems to be in its right places. But I also like to see another kind of films—films made by some directors who don’t care for critics, general audience, or aesthetic rules. These directors make films because they want to make films which really reflect their lives, their imagination, and their minds. I think some Thai rural filmmakers may make films like that. Their rural films may not have any aesthetic values, but I still love their films very much, because their films feel very organic, feel like a real human being, feel like a “living person”, not an “art object”.

    Comment by celinejulie — August 22, 2008 @ 11:21 pm


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