Fall 2014 Chinese Feature Film Series at Ringling College of Art and Design

©Carolyn M Bloomer, Ph.D., 2014. Permission to quote conditional on display of appropriate credit.

Fall 2014
Ringling College of Art and Design / Academic Center Room Room 207
Admission is free.
All films have Mandarin sound-tracks and English subtitles.

Sep 6: 1:30 pm

Battle of Wits
墨攻Mo gong
Jacob Cheung 张之亮, Hong Kong, 2006.
133 minutes
Stars Andy Lau

About 100 years after Confucius died, during the Warring States Period战国时代 (475/403 – 221 BCE), numerous small independent states and statelets ruled by regional landowners and noble families are constantly at war with one another, and depend increasingly on cavalry, infantry and sophisticated military technology. The Mohists (Mojia墨家), a pacifist philosophical school, condemned first-strike warfare and became renowned for engineering defensive technologies; hence smaller states often called upon them for help in resisting resist aggression from larger states. This is the underlying framework for the plot of Battle of Wits. The ancient Chinese military technology will be of particular interest to some viewers. The idea that cleverness and strategic brilliance are more critical than than numbers and strength in achieving victory is a perennially popular theme in Chinese narratives.

Sep 30: 1:30 pm

Raise the Red Lantern
大红灯高高卦 Da hongdeng gaogao gua
Zhang Yimou 樟艺谋, 1991. 125 min.
Adapted by Ni Zhen from novel
Wives and Concubines (1990), by Su Tong
Stars Gong Li

This quintessential Fifth Generation film locates its social critique in the feudal oppression of women. In 1920s Shanxi Province, during the Republican period, a college student, sold against her will to a wealthy man, becomes his third concubine. She is forced to participate in ruthless domestic competition and rivalry, witnesses another’s ultimate punishment, and finally goes mad. The brilliant uses of color, season, and cinematic framing form a perfect unity with the pathos of the narrative, and gift us with an early example of the visual genius of one of China’s most internationally famous directors.
©Carolyn M Bloomer, Ph.D., 2014. Permission to quote conditional on display of appropriate credit.

October 25: 1:30 pm

American Dreams in China
中国合伙人Zhongguo he huoren
Director Peter Chan陈可辛, 2013. 111 min
Cinematographer Christopher Doyle

This comedy-drama spin-off from a poular TV series was a huge box-office hit in China. During the rapid economic reform of the 1980s three university classmates pursue the promise of a better life through higher education abroad, but with varying degrees of success. Eventually the three come together as partners in a highly profitable English language school – but success brings a crisis in their values and their personal relationships. American audiences may find themselves a bit taken aback by Chinese perceptions of the U.S.

November 22: 1:30

In Love We Trust
左右 Zuo-you
Director Wang Xiaoshuai 王小帅, 2011
110 min.

A couple learns that their five-year old daughter has leukemia and can only be saved by a bone marrow transplant from a close relative or the umbilical cord blood of a sibling. Unable to find the necessary genetic match and desperate to do anything necessary to give her daughter a chance to live, the mother prevails upon her ex-husband, the child’s biological father who is likewise now remarried, to contribute sperm to impregnate her with a sibling for the daughter. But because of China’s one-child policy, this would deprive the stepfather of having his own child with the mother. The ex-husband’s young wife also wants a child and is angered at her husband’s willingness to create a child for his ex-wife. Although the dilemma is exacerbated by China’s family planning policy, the issues of trust, obligation, and fidelity are far more universal.

Series is designed and hosted by Dr. Carolyn Bloomer to supplement her Cross-Cultural Perspectives course Modern China,  and is co-sponsored by the Gulfcoast Chinese American Association,
the Sarasota Chapter of the U.S.-China People’s Friendship Association, and Sister Cities Association of Sarasota.

For more information contact: cbloomer@c.ringling.edu.

Location: Films will be screened on the campus of Ringling College of Art and Design in the new Academic Building on the west side of Old Bradenton Road south of Martin Luther King Boulevard. The building is #34 on the campus map available on line at http://www.ringling.edu/fileadmin/pdf/CampusMap.pdf.