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Contributed by Patricia Zimmermann on 03/24/2012
The New China occupies the news, generating fear, anxiety, empire, outsourcing, and competitiveness.
At FLEFF, see the new China in new ways, with banned, underground, radical, and transnational projects that refute and expose these global clichés from the ground up.
Beijing Beseiged by Waste (Wang Jiu-liang, China, 2011; 71 min.)
Photographer Wang Jiu-liang travels to more than 500 landfills, fearlessly documenting Beijing’s unholy cycle of consumption through poignant observational visits with the scavengers who live and work in the dumps. While China’s economic ascent commands global attention, less light has been shed upon the monumental problem of waste spawned by a burgeoning population, booming industry, and insatiable urban growth. Award-winning photographer Wang Jiuliang focuses his lens upon the grim spectacle of waste, excrement, detritus, and rubble unceremoniously piled upon the land surrounding the China’s Olympic city, capital, and megalopolis, Beijing. With Kevin Lee, in person, from dGenerate Films, Sat, March 31, 7:10, Cinemapolis.
Winter Vacation (Han Jia) (Li Hongqi, China, 2010; 91 min.)
It’s the last day of winter vacation in Inner Mongolia. Four aimless adolescents enjoy their last hours of freedom drifting between the barren spaces of their small town. They make surreal visits to homes of family and friends, including an unhappy little boy who dreams of becoming an orphan to escape the tyranny of his family. A prevailing absurdity casts over their lives as they endure petty instances of bullying while arguing over the purpose of school, teenage love, and life in general. Winner of the Golden Leopard for Best Film at the Locarno Film Festival, the third film by poet-novelist Li Hongqi announces him as a major figure in China’s independent cinema. Targeting the nonsensical undertones of modern Chinese society, Li unleashes a mercilessly deadpan humor that’s as biting as the film’s wintry landscape. With Kevin Lee, in person, dGenerate Films, Sunday, April 1, 1:30 Cinemapolis
Cotton Road (Laura Kissel, USA, 2012)
From fields in South Carolina to factories in Shanghai, “Cotton Road” makes visible the production cycle of an agricultural commodity through the stories of workers who transform raw cotton from a seed in the ground to a product on a store shelf. The film begins with farmers and seeds and ends at a retail store. In between, it tracks the travels of cotton to China where young factory girls dye, spin and sew, manufacturing the products we desire to consume. Connecting our consumption to the labor behind it, “Cotton Road” weaves a portrait of globalized work in the 21st century. With Laura Kissel and Matt Hockenberry, in person, Sat, March 31, 2 p.m. Cinemapolis
The 15th Annual Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival, exploring the theme of Microtopias, runs March 25-April 1, on the Ithaca College campus and downtown at Cinemapolis.
FLEFF: A DIFFERENT ENVIRONMENT
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