The Wave: New Experimental Films From China

These films and videos are as all over the map as China itself, and not just because curator Li Zhenhua has drawn works from Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. In contrast to the mainly propagandistic hymns to industrialization of early Soviet cinema, these chronicles of disorienting changes are full of ambivalence and skepticism. From the musical deconstruction of TV newscasters in 8GG’s News Dance to the kinky surrealism of Cao Fei’s Burners, and the eclectic inventiveness of Yang Fudong’s Backyard-Hey! Sun Is Rising to the weird, unattractive puppet animation of Zhou Xiaohu’s Beautiful Cloud, the sole common trait here seems to be aggressiveness. The only things resembling tone poems are a few stray intervals in the otherwise frenetic San Yuan Li, a 40-minute documentary in black-and-white ‘Scope by a dozen artists about the rapid urban development around Guangzhou. In Mandarin with subtitles. 88 min. (JR)

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