NEW YORK, NY.- The Film Society of Lincoln Center
will feature the best in Chinese contemporary cinema with On the Edge: New Independent Cinema from China 2009, at the Walter Reade Theater from Friday, April 24 through Sunday, April 26, (Three Days). A weekend series of seven films, with directors in person at many screenings, this short but thoughtful compendium opens with Zhang Lüs Chongqing, a panoramic, multi-generational portrait of the titular city and Ying Liangs The Other Half, a highlight of the 2007 New Directors/New Films. This series follows up the 2007 edition which hosted auteurs Jia Zhang-ke introducing The World and Li Yang with Blind Shaft, amongst others.
Although privately financed cinema has been allowed in China since the mid-1990s, the nations films and filmmakers continue to face both strained relations with the government and limited opportunities to be shown at home. On the Edge offers direct, often controversial looks at a society undergoing an unprecedented transformation, taking international viewers to parts of the country that are almost never seen by foreigners. Though little known in China itself, these unique works have made an impressive mark on the international state, winning major festival awards.
Other highlights in the series include Peng Taos Little Moth (Sat, April 25), which, in the words of Robert Koehler of Variety, melds the anger and storytelling scope of Dickens [and] the documentary-influenced immediacy and sensitive gaze of the Dardenne brothers; Zhang Lüs Iri, a companion to Chongqing (the two were originally to be a single feature) about the Korean city Iksan (known as Iri before a destructive 1977 train station explosion); and Ying Liangs newest, Good Cats (both playing Sun, April 26).
In conjunction with this series, a panel discussion on new Chinese cinema will be held at Dodge Hall, Columbia University on Sunday, April 26. Speakers will include Richard Peńa, The Film Society of Lincoln Centers Program Director and co-curator of the series; Lydia Liu, Columbia Professor in the Humanities; and Zhang Zhen, Associate Professor of Cinema Studies at NYUs Tisch School of the Arts.