Film

Yunnan Big Screen Film Festival

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Musician Tujiko Noriko and director Mak Yan Yan

The 2007 Big Screen Film Festival concluded in Kunming last week, and your correspondent was one of the jurors.

There were over 90 films from all over the world, including animations, experimental shorts, and full length documentaries and feature films. My fellow jurors were Marco Ceresa of the Ca' Foscari University of Venice who is one of the organizers of the Venice Film Festival, and Baobei'r in Love screenwriter Wang Yao (王要).

The festival took place inside the Yuansheng ethnic minority theater, a privately-run organization dedicated to preserving the dance and music of Yunnan's minority peoples. The Yuansheng theater is in an interesting spot, an old factory yard that has been occupied by cafés, galleries and bars. It's a little like 798—the former arms factory in Beijing that has become a zone of art and posers.

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Jurors Wang Yao and Marco Ceresa
In addition to the films, there were nightly music performances, including the house musicians and dancers of Yuansheng (see this video), Kunming-based bilingual hip hop duo Rap Republic (说唱共和国), and Japanese electro-chanteuse Tujiko Noriko who flew in from Paris for the occasion. Visiting directors included Hong Kong's Mak Yan Yan (麦婉欣) whose last feature film was Butterfly (蝴蝶) was about a lesbian affair in Hong Kong. Mak's new film won the best feature film award at the festival in Kunming.

After five heady days of film and music, this was our juror's statement:

Yunnan Big Screen Film Festival Winners

All the films selected say something about confronting modernity, and the ways traditional minority cultures cope with change.

Animation
Almost like one of the family by Astrid Goransson, Sweden
The story of a country girl who goes to town, told with virtuosity and wit. The story is based on letters written by the girl to her sister back home. Extremely impressive technically, and very human.

Video art and experimental films
Series of four films by Jean-Gabriel Periot, France
Dies Irae, Under Twilight, Even if she had been a criminal, and Nijumanji No Borei are four scenes from a larger fresco depicting the destruction of modernity and the preservation of the memories of a generation now almost disappeared.

Short film
Il Vecchio e La Fontana by Toni Palazzo, Italy
The last day of an old man in a small village in Sicily. A light-hearted mix of dream sequences and reality.

Documentary
Living in a Perfect World by Diego D'innocenzo and Marco Leopardi, Italy
Mennonites are a Luddite, immigrant religious group a little like the Amish. This film depicts four communities of Mennonites in Mexico and Bolivia facing modernity. Some of the communities in the film decide to accept some modern amenities like electricity and cars, which causes more conservative members to go elsewhere to pursue their conservative traditions.

Feature film
The Scarlett Robe 大红袍 by Mak Yan Yan
A slowly and beautifully shot tale of a mother and daughter who both sing traditional Cantonese opera, and their complicated relationship.


There is more information about the event on the Big Screen Festival website. News about next year's festival will be announced on the websites of organizers Go Kunming and CinaOggi. One of the images used above is by Piero Vio of Cina Oggi.

There are currently 1 Comments for Yunnan Big Screen Film Festival.

Comments on Yunnan Big Screen Film Festival

"Documentary
Living in a Perfect World by Diego D'innocenzo and Marco Leopardi, Italy
Mennonites are a Luddite, immigrant religious group a little like the Amish. This film depicts four communities of Mennonites in Mexico and Bolivia facing modernity. Some of the communities in the film decide to accept some modern amenities like electricity and cars, which causes more conservative members to go elsewhere to pursue their conservative traditions."

Growing up amongst the Amish and Mennonites I find this documentary particularly interesting. The interesting thing about Lancaster, PA (Amish capital of the world, and unfortunately the site of the Amish shootings last year) is that when the Amish sell their goods and deal in matters of commerce they use faxes, telephones, and the internet---just not out in the open---and it can't be housed on their property. Although against past traditions the Amish will always have a bit more self-control than us dependent constantly on technology.

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