Two Chinese Films Selected for MoMA New Directors Showcase

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6:30 PM HKT, Thu March 29, 2018 1 mins read

Two films from greater China will be shown in New York in the coming week as part of New Directors/New Films, an annual showcase of emerging filmmakers presented by the Museum of Modern Art and the Film Society of Lincoln Center. One of the films is The Great Buddha + by Taiwanese filmmaker Huang Hsin-yao:

Provincial friends Pickle and Belly Button idle away their nights in the security booth of a Buddha statue factory, where Pickle works as a guard. One evening, when the TV is on the fritz, they put on video from the boss’s dashcam—only to discover illicit trysts and a mysterious act of violence. Expanded from a short, Huang Hsin-yao’s fiction feature debut The Great Buddha + (the plus sign cheekily nodding to the smartphone model) is a stylish, rip-roaring satire on class and corruption in contemporary Taiwanese society. A Cheng Cheng Films release.

The other film is Hu Bo’s monumental debut, An Elephant Sitting Still, which premiered at this year’s Berlinale festival. Film Journal International acknowledges the gravity of this selection:

For reasons that remain unclear, Bo committed suicide this past October. Wang gave his rights to the film to Bo’s parents, who oversaw its post-production. (According to Hui’s research, Bo had essentially completed a cut, which only needed some color grading and the final score.)

“It hasn’t shown in China yet,” Hui points out. “It’s not ‘dragon-stamped,’ you don’t see the dragon seal at the beginning, which means it hasn’t gone through Chinese censors. It’s unlikely this will end up in regular theatres in China. This is not the kind of film censors normally approve because of how gloomy it is.”

An Elephant Sitting Still may be equally hard to see in the U.S. Exposure at New Directors/New Films might convince a distributor to take a chance. That’s one reason why this series remains such an important showcase.

If you’re in New York, find the full schedule of New Directors/New Films 2018 here, and read our review of An Elephant Sitting Still for more on this achingly original film:

Cover image: Still from “An Elephant Sitting Still” (source)

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