Monday, July 21, 2008

Cities, Memory and Urban Development

China in Freiburg

Under Construction by Liu Zhenchen, 2007, 9 min

City planners decide to pull down parts of Shanghai’s old town in order to regenerate the city. Every year over hundred thousand families are forced to leave their homes and moveinto buildings on the edge of city. This video is a 2 and 3 dimentional flight across the now destroyed living areas of Shanghai which shows how random and brutal decisions can affect peoples’s lives.
Liu Zhenchen is a video artist who studied at Le Fresnoy art school who lives and works in China and France.

Marina Foxley, long time curator for Chinese independent cinema at Directors Lounge, is coming to Freiburg today (Tuesday) presenting a dedicated program of short documentaries at the Kommunales Kino. The subject deals with cities in China (Shanghai, Nanjing, Beijing, Guangzhou) and the urban development. Included are some of this years highlights of the February Lounge, like Under Construction and The Bridge.
Don´t miss this screening if you are in town

“The Bridge” is a non-narrative documentary on the border to the cinematic essay, comparable perhaps to the films NYC and Belgrade films we had seen on Monday, but with a decisive political undertone. The film's subject is the gigantic Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge, which is not only a important part of Nanjing's infrastructure, but also a kind of monument to the Chinese People's Republic's engineering potential. Xu Xin's film, though, ignores the heroic aspect of the bridge, focussing rather on small scenes of people somehow associated with the bridge or simply passing by, like a young tourist couple taking pictures, some workers whiling away time in their cabin or a man in a raincoat trying to cross bridge at a traffic light, which – judging from the display attached to the lights – is set to just 7 seconds, so crossing it within the allocated time frame and not getting stuck in the middle of the road seems like a veritable feat in itself. Obviously – besides taking pictures for your album –, the bridge is not intended for any kind of true interaction between architecture and the people; a problem often plaguing institutions and structures in political systems which have to put the identifier “People's” into their denomination, as the connection between “people” and “society” might be eventually overlooked otherwise. There is an irony to the social realist statue depicting the traditional warrior/worker/doctrinaire standing on the side of the bridge, shown at the beginning of the film – it should have rather been a miniature replica of the bridge itself, or maybe the Chinese mainland (think of Ai Weiwei's sarcastic “Map of China”, carved from the remnants of a destroyed historical temple), instead of any kind of even aesthetically & politically streamlined individual. Unsurprisingly, the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge is a popular suicide venue in China; Xu Xiu states a number of 2000 people at the end of the film, a supposedly unauthorised but still shocking statistic.

Jacob Birken

expand for program and location details

Cities, Memory and Urban Development

Kommunales Kino, a film art house theater in Freiburg (in Germany), organizes a special evening on China on Tuesday, July the 22nd 2008 from 7:30pm. A program of recent short documentaries proposed by Fragments will be presented and the subject deals with cities in China (Shanghai, Nanjing, Beijing, Guangzhou) and the urban development. The screening will be followed by another screening of the film Fish and Elephant by Li Yu (2001).

Under Construction (Liu Zhenchen, 2007, 9 min)
Rice and Coins (MaiZi, 2007, 1 min)
Floating Memory (Liu Wei, 2001, 10 min)
Up and Down (Wang Wo, 2007, 12 min)
The Bridge (Xu Xin, 2007, 16 min)
Lead To (Zhao Dayong, 2007, 12 min)
Perform (MaiZi, 2007, 1 min)
Empty Room (Zhang Xuezhou, 2006, 5 min)

full program (pdf)

Kommunales Kino,
Urachstr. 40, 79102 Freiburg, Germany

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...