China 2005, 110 min., English subtitles
One family, three people, twenty-three scenes and twenty-three fixed shots: everyday life in a flat 20-square-metres big. The father’s business is running badly, he worries about the future; the mother and her daughter discuss how they are going to celebrate his birthday … ‘The parents and the director play themselves and act out their lives: like actors performing roles. The shots reduce the space, cropping them in a manner that is both radical and stunning. At no time does the viewer see the flat or any of the people in their entirety. Oxhide is an intelligent film. Its intelligence lies in the way it brings both the shown and that which is not shown into play. It is one of those rare wonders: the one film [at the 2005 Berlin Film Festival] that really is a must.’ (Ekkehard Knörer, perlentaucher.de.)
Followed by a talk with the director and Dai Jinhua.
Brave New World
Two films look at the upheavals China is currently experiencing: from the rigid morals of the 1980s to the total breakdown of security in the present. They both show how difficult it is to go through life holding one’s head up high in defiance of social and economic pressures.