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2011-12-14 06:04:21|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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 “Wild” or first generation---the new drive in China’s film industry after 2000



Forward: no name and coinage
Xiaolu Wang

    The primary part of this film exhibition is focused on the period after the 6th generation film directors, who started creating independent feature films after 2000. Most of these directors were born around 1970s (the film directors in this film exhibition were born roughly in 1969-1981). What we need to further explain is that this film exhibition is only one part of the whole picture and the rest will be shown continuously in other ways.

   The reason why we use the concept of “after 1970s” or “this generation” cautiously is because that might be regarded as a syndrome of grandeurs narration. In fact, after the “6th generation”, the “7th generation” in China’s film industry has never been classified and the transmission from masters to disciples in film academy has become indistinct. The generation culture in Chinese films is considered to be terminated. Over the past decade, many new film makers after 6th generation have no collective name. The ways to give names by means of both generation and of the style in integrating complex producing phenomenon had been abandoned. What makes it interesting is that, the film directors and scholars who initially objected to the use of 6th generation still attach special value to them years later. In fact, either objection or usage has its own unique context, with special cultural significance and no self-contradiction. In contrast, the way to name 6th generation not only brought convenience in language communication but also promoted the recognition in public.
    Years later, the bystanders would be concerned about the “no name” phenomenon because of the difficulty in referring to them. The same is true with the film makers themselves. The individual feature was eventually overwhelmed by the chaotic bustling of our times, even though they were trying to name themselves. They speak out of the importance of our times, while they themselves are not of importance and gradually come out of the attention. In fact, the starting points of their many films are not even lower than those made by the 6th generation film makers. Once I questioned Wang Xiaoshuai, “How is the cultural circumstance of your generation?” He replied that they are even at worse situation since their fame has been overwhelmed.
The condition of “no name” is an unwise move in terms of culture. Of course, this is not only an unwise step with regard to advertisement but also academic nonfeasance, which probably decreased our self-understanding. In a new era, mini-narration and sporadic narration are what we pursue; however, this should not hinder our progress to discover the connection and similarity between all matters, let alone abandon another effort to clarification.

    In addition, among all doubt about the “synonym to name” in the past, the core lies in the suspicion of the difficult conclusion on aesthetic commonality from different authors. From today viewpoints, the distinction between generations might not be a uniform concept in aesthetics. Film in China is mainly a concept related with age and political period, and a cultural manifestation on the meeting of biological age and specific times. The well-developed culture on “generation” is due to the immaturity of political and society development. Next decade may turn to be entirely different from the previous on both in terms of politics and zeitgeist, which was also reflected in film creation.

The difference between films in each period would be obvious in retrospection, which could be shown not only in contents, but also in the used technology, sense of camera shot and style of lyrics. They seem to be everywhere and difficult to summarize. In the critical point of year 2000, Chinese society had undergone the process of hard transformation, from the dead past to the newly reborn. It is also difficult to define social rules, film regulation and value of living. The emergence of internet spirit and the mutation of cinema media helped producing a new group of film makers. During the transformation from photographic era to non- photographic era in cinema industry, the legitimization of digital movies is still in process of exploring while the photographic film industry comes to a halt. Many graduate students from the Beijing Film Academy after 6th generation had entered “TV-cinema” industry, which caused the dwindling number of film directors. A large number of new film makers without professional academic background have been cropping up. Zou Peng, director of C hang’En, once said, “we are all wild”. Digital technology development turned from DV to HDV within only ten years. The democratization of film industry has begun and they are the first generation film democratization and digitalization. 

     Certainly, there is also an academism involved in independent creation not dedicated for film industry. However, the Internet makes it available to integrate the academism and non-academism which are subject to the common social education into one. But even for the academism, the funding models and the ideologies have been not provided with such features that had been equipped with before, and are in a wild state, i.e., they run its own course. It is a revolution and also a tough reclamation. The batch of the people kicks off an unprecedented stage in the film history of China. 

    The film festival is originally expected to be named as “Successors After Jia Zhangke”; maybe it is accurate because Jia Zhangke is the earliest demonstrator of film democratization. I tend to consider that he is an inspiring figure in the film field of China who has inspired lots of the people including Fu Xinhua. Jia Zhangke started from non-film without use of academic resource and film studio resource. Jia Zhangke’s film expression direction realizes another encouragement: grassroots-level society and shotting of the world around us. The succeeding directors are from various corners of the world; hence, it results in different social facades. The batch of the works created thereafter is embodied in the trace of reality and features of documentaries and bring about a special but similar landscape: 

For example, an uprising of a batch of realists for films. They are dedicated for describing the individuals losing the subjectivity. The characters in these films are non-existentialists. For selection of the characters, it would like to display the tension from exterior environment pressure rather than the depth and charm of humanity. Because they are passive existents, the value of the humanity is not so significant in such circumstances. Films prefer being subject to logic of environment to logic of humanity. Should we consider it a disadvantage or an advantage? In my opinion, they are the voices of the time and the society as well as the understanding of the directors on their own living circumstances. The works from Fu Xinhua (Stranger’s Street), Gan Xiaoer and Peng Tao are of this kind of quality. In the ending of Ying Liang’s Good Cats, lots of posters were delivered in the broadcasting; actually, there were many persons lost. In the Youth of Di Jun, there was a scene that a horse was put in a car and a hot-blooded young man in plaster was seated in a wheel chair. 

If the early works of the 6th generation of directors are of modernism. The works of this batch of directors are realistic. They devote themselves to accurate description of the exterior environment. It is seems that they are more image anthropologists than film directors. For itself, it is anti-commercial and this kind of films are not designed for fulfilling the dream, most of which are to remind us of delivering the understanding and judgments on the social environment with the most energy.  


However, this is obviously not a full view of the 1st generation of directors after 2000. Zhao Ye, who attended the festival, is born in 1970’s, but he had his childhood in Shenzhen. The first McDonald for China was established in Shenzhen. He being brought up by eating McDonald, his experience is similar to the growth experience of 1980’s. But we still consider the directors from the aspect of 1970’s. What we exhibit is the unbalance incurred from the existence of the contemporaries. The ineffectiveness of simple inductions is also objectively indicated by other films advanced in the festival. 
The films showed on the festival are: The Weed, Sauna on Moon, The Gossip, Good Cats, Oxhide, Winter Vocation, Old Dog, Little Moth, Hello! Mr. Tree, Last Chestnuts, Buddha Mountain and Gone with Honor. The festival integrates shows, speeches and exchanges into an academic unit. It is hoped that the directors attending the festival could make a lecture about biographies of the films. We hope that it is a relatively intensive exhibition for a new film ecology so that young film-makers of China after 2000 can express the film environments (including funds and systems) they suffered and their own growth experience. It is hoped that the intensive exhibition can provide with the materials to deepen the understanding on film culture and self-understanding. It is more an inspiration than a announcement of an academic result. Hence, we hope that it can provide an opportunity for establishment of a platform for exchanges and considerations.
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