I got a question just a couple of days ago from a guy who decided that he is interested in movies. He asked if I could recommend a movie watching course so that he can be well versed in movies. It is immediately an odd question when I think about it now. Firstly, I am not really good enough with movies and still consider myself a relative neophyte. Secondly, I wonder if there is such thing as a “movie education”. The question that I have is that can a person decide to be a movie buff by forcing himself to watch all the supposedly great movies in the movie canon? It must be a damn painful experience, as far as I can imagine. My believe is that a person is a movie buff because he loves movies deep down to his last bone. He watches movies because he enjoys the process and the aftertaste, not to cover a certain movie canon. And because he craves for movies, he watches so many of them and one day, he finds himself having covered the “canon”, if a “canon” does exist – which I think does not and any canons must necessary for convenience’s sake and cannot be authoritative.
Then another friend said that she would like to check out the new Chinese cinema. Now this is probably a right way to start. She is a Korean movie and drama fan and now wants to explore new Chinese cinema. She has the passion to start with and I think she will make some headway into this subject. After she left, I think to myself. New Chinese cinema is what? The 7th generation (if that exists)? Off my head, I can recommend some that I have seen but that is really a mix and I avoided having to say 5th generation, 6th generation, 7th generation, underground etc. It is just simply this, dive into the movies directly and don’t care about the “names” and “labels”. What is important is the movie, not whether they are 6th generation or 7th generation.
So, maybe I can share here some of the nice Chinese movies and directors which will find in my list if anyone asks me what movies I like from the “new Chinese cinema”:
To start with, from the previous post:
Li Yang for BLIND MOUNTAIN; BLIND SHAFT.
Zhang Yang for SHOWER; SUNFLOWER; GETTING HOME
Jiang Wen for DEVILS ON THE DOORSTEP; THE SUN ALSO RISES
Jia Zhangke for STILL LIFE; THE WORLD; UNKNOWN PLEASURES; PLATFORM; XIAO WU (he is one of my favourite directors)
Wang Xiaoshuai for SHANGHAI DREAMS; BEIJING BICYCLE; SO CLOSE TO PARADISE
Lou Ye for SUZHOU RIVER; PURPLE BUTTERFLY (available on Astro Kirana now); SUMMER PALACE
Zhang Yuan for BEIJING BASTARDS; SEVENTEEN YEARS; EAST PALACE, WEST PALACE
Well, so much to start with first, 7 filmmakers 21 movies. If you could not find them in video stores in Malaysia (very high probability), you can go to YesAsia.com to order. If you still could not find or if you are a student running short on funds, you can write to me and I can loan you a copy. I don’t have all of these in my library but I have most of them (19/21).
Well, have fun!