中國獨立電影, 訪談錄 – On the Edge: Chinese Independent Cinema

2 03 2009

Want to recommend a book. It is called 中國獨立電影, 訪談錄 – On the Edge: Chinese Independent Cinema, edited by 歐陽江河 (Ouyang Jianghe).

independent-china

Whenever I read books on film, I always like to read comments by the film makers themselves or interviews with the film makers on their film. I don’t like to read an academic analysis of films by critics or scholars, I prefer to hear it from the film makers themselves.

This book is a compilation of interviews with some of the independent film makers right now working in China, like 賈樟柯 (Jia Zhang Ke), 王超 (Wang Chao), 李楊 (Li Yang), 婁燁 (Lou Ye),  韓杰 (Han Jie) and others. The book is in chinese but I think there is an english translation version. The publisher is Oxford University Press.

What is great about this book is that through the interviews and the film makers talking about their films, I can gradually see that the subject and kind of films that are being made independently in China by these so called “6th Generation Directors” are more about the present, the impact of the rapid modernization of China. This is quite different from the even the early films of the “5th Generation Directors” like  張藝謀 (Zhang Yimou), 陳凱歌 (Cheng Kai Ke) or 田壯壯 (Tian Zhuang Zhuang), who were heavily influenced by what they had gone through in the Cultural Revoultion.

All of the interviews are also very enlightening on the methods and creative processes of the directors. I particularly like part of an interview by 侯孝賢 (Hou Hsiao Hsien) with 賈樟柯 (Jia Zhang Ke) on the subject of “用最簡單的方法,講最多的東西 – using the simplest method, to say the most things”. This is something which I have been striving in my films. Here’s that part of the interview (its in chinese):

賈樟柯: 我記得上次在北京,您談到一樣東西我印象很深刻,就是〔用最簡單的方法,講最多的東西〕。我自己的理解,所為最簡單的方法,就是去掉跟普通大眾之間不必要的鴻溝。

侯孝賢: 對,就是直接面對。敘事的焦點啪嚓一下抓到,變成一種節奏感,反映你對事物觀察的吸收跟反思。不過,我感覺〔簡單而深邃〕很困難。簡單,所以人人看得懂,但是又意義深遠,這不容易。

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