(Chen Kaige Special)
Opening: Chen Kaige Special
The House of World Cultures is starting the film series Celluloid Revolutions with two films by Chen Kaige: The Promise (2005), which opens today in German cinemas, and Yellow Earth (1985). Ever since his pioneering debut with Yellow Earth, Chen Kaige (alongside Zhang Yimou) has been celebrated as the Chinese filmmaker per se. In China, Kaige’s latest work, The Promise, which displays a surreal mixture of fantasy and mythology, has drawn more people into the cinema than any other film.
Yellow Earth D: Chen Kaige
China 1985, 90 min., German subtitles
Made almost ten years after the Cultural Revolution, Yellow Earth marks the beginning of a new era in Chinese cinema. Its almost pictorial imagery makes it a milestone in film history.
Northern China in the late 1930s: a young party member travels to a remote village to collect traditional melodies for marching songs. His stories about women soldiers in the People’s Army awaken hope in a young girl that she will be able to escape an arranged marriage. When she has to marry after all, she flees to join the army …
Preceded by a talk with Dai Jinhua, curator of the film programme, and Yingjin Zhang. Yingjin Zhang wrote a comprehensive encyclopaedia of Chinese film (published in London in 1998) as well as the standard work From Underground to Independent: Alternative Film Culture in Contemporary China (published 2006).