chinese art book

I’ve had friends say that I should work in the Film Bureau, because then that institution would become more tolerant. I tell them that it would only make me a worse person. If you have a guard at the gate, then the guard becomes oppressive. It doesn’t have anything to do with the person; it’s the system, the environment.

Jiang Wen on censorship               

interviewed in Oracle Bones: A Journey through Time in China by Peter Hessler

FengJiu from the Chinese novel Three Lives Three Worlds The Pillow Book. My favorite character from the Chinese drama Eternal Love based off of Three Lives Three Worlds Ten Thousand Miles of Peach Blossoms.

This ink sketch is based off of the actress’s (LOVE HER ERHMERGOD) features and the manhua’s hair. Which I love so…

sorry i havent been doing anything ill try harder

Jiang Wen: “a person and history are the same”

More Jiang Wen! This is a long section, so I edited it a bit to capture the comments that I found most powerful. History and memory (major themes in his films) come up in so many of his interviews, and these lines really struck me.

As this begins, Peter Hessler has asked Jiang Wen how audiences are supposed to interpret the historical perspective of his film Devils on the Doorstep.

“I never said that this movie was supposed to represent history,” he [Jiang Wen] said. “I believe that a director is supposed to show things inside the heart. Maybe it has to do with inheritance. I was born near that place in Hebei, and so there is lots of history inside of me. In a way, I think the movie is autobiographical.”

I mentioned that some critics believed the movie was inaccurate because it didn’t portray the Chinese as victims of the war.

“I agree that the Chinese people have been victims,” he said. “But we have our own faults; we need to look hard at a mirror and think about why we became victims. You can’t simply point to others and say that they’re evil – you can’t point at Lin Biao, or Jiang Qing, or the Japanese. That’s too simple….

“People should spend more time looking inside themselves,” he said. “A person and history are the same – by that, I mean that a personal history is enormous. An individual can be even more complicated than a society. But there isn’t any time for the Chinese to examine themselves like that. Everybody is too busy; there’s not enough time for reflection…. We don’t know where we are. We haven’t found our road. In the early part of the twentieth century, the Chinese tried; some of them tried to find it in our traditions, while others looked outside the country. This debate is still going on.”

He continued. “Chairman Mao is a perfect example. He often said that he didn’t like Chinese history, and the Communists initially succeeded because they were untraditional. But Mao used traditional Chinese language to oppose the old things, and he became a traditional emperor…. He’s like a seed that grows big, but in a twisted way, because the seed can’t overcome the soil.”

I asked the actor what could be done about that.

“Change the soil,” Jiang Wen said.

- from Oracle Bones: A Journey through Time in China by Peter Hessler

Ip Man Poetics

I’m back with more from Chinese and Japanese Films on the Second World War edited by King-fai Tam, Timothy Y. Tsu, and Sandra Wilson, this time focusing on Paola Voci’s essay “The Sino-Japanese War in Ip Man: From Miscommunication to Poetic Combat.” I’m counting this as one of my “#Books on Baze” posts, though, because Jiang Wen appears in this essay, too (see below).

Voci’s main argument is that 2008′s Ip Man is a hybrid work, both a martial arts blockbuster – with its “focus on the hero’s martial arts skills and superior morality” placing it in the “martial arts film tradition in which kungfu (wuda) represents an essentialized Chinese culture and nation” – and a Chinese war film, and that, through its translator subplot and its martial arts choreography, “war’s national and nationalistic antagonisms are pushed to the background and the focus is rather on the fallibility of language in fostering mutual understanding.”

The takeaway? Voci suggests that two forms of communication with the enemy are portrayed in the film. The verbal is closed, failed communication, because the two sides are working from different systems of beliefs and unable to understand each other. The successful communication appears with the fighting itself, through the poetics of martial arts: “The violent confrontation is controlled by the specific grammar of the martial arts code that allows the protagonists finally to engage with each other directly, freely, but according to a precise code of motions.” Cinematically speaking, this means “the focus is on the visual as a means to construct a poetic communication that relies on the evocative power of visual metaphors. Each gesture, each movement of their coded fight is charged with symbolic meanings…” (In other words, everyone gets the message when Donnie Yen kicks your ass.)

Voci points out that this focus on war and (mis)communication puts Ip Man squarely within the larger Chinese war-film dialogue, and then compares it with  – you guessed it – Jiang Wen’s Devils on the Doorstep (2000), which, though “radically oppositional to Ip Man’s nationalist ideology,” shares “the same suspicion about language” and “more cynically, suggests that language-based communication may in fact doom humanity to self-destruction.”

More soon!


From Reylo’s fans in China.

(Star Wars: The Force Awakens Art Book 2016)

Heres a translation: (Special thanks to @reylogarbagechute)

P.S. I’m not entirely good at this so pardon any mistakes/grammar errors.

Image 1:

At the Starkiller base of many light years, Rey was imprisoned by Kylo Ren.
“Tell me about the driod” Kylo Ren questioned, “He is carrying a section of the nagivation chart, and we have the rest, but we need the last piece.”
Rey does not reply, while trying to free herself from the restrains.
“I know you’ve seen the map,” Kylo continued. “You can’t hide anything from me”
Rey can feel Kylo Ren using the force on her, searching through her mind. She concentrates on the connection between Kylo Ren and her, trying to push him out with all her might.
Suddenly, Rey caught a scene from Kylo Ren’s head, a scene filled with so many different emotions. She felt his anger and pain, mostly of which are fear.
Kylo Ren immediately jolt out from her head, and rushed out of the cell. He wa shocked by Rey’s ability, leaving him baffled.
Rey can still feel the force circulating around her body, she was filled with curiosity to give it another try. Thus, she spoke to the cell guard in a demanding voice, “You will remove the restraints, leave the cell, with the door open.”
Rey could not believe it, the guard removed her restraint, and proceeded to head out of the cell.
“And you will drop the weapon,” Rey added. After the guard left, Rey picked up the blaster, and ran out the cell door.

Image 2:

Meanwhile, Rey was trying to escape from the stormtroopers chasing after them.
“You go ahead!” Rey shouted at BB-8. “I will stop them.”
Rey managed to take out a few stormtroppers with her blaster. Then, he heard Kylo Ren, through his ignited lightsaber. He has finally found her.
“Tell me, girl,” Kylo Ren said. “Where is the driod that I am looking for?”
Kylo Ren inched closer and closer to Rey with each step, using the force at the same time to search her mind. As he was in her head, he realized, whatever he was looking for was already in there.
“You’ve seen the map! The map–is in your head!”
((The front part of this line was cut, but it goes something like this I think)) He did not need the driod anymore, he caught the girl, and brought her back to the ship.

Image 3:

Rey knew Kylo Ren could not hold up any longer, she took the chance, and striked at him repeatedly. Suddenly, the earth shook, the Starkiller base the breaking apart. After another wave of earthquake, the ground beside them formed a ravine.
Rey striked again, with each strike, she became more and more driven with fury.
Her lightsaber glazed Kylo Ren’s face, and she also managed to hit his lightsaber’s hilt. Kylo Ren’s lightsaber landed in the snow, and he did not have the strength to pick himself up. He could only lay there, breathless, breathing heavily.
Rey could tell, she have the power to kill him then, and stop his evil intentions.

Image 4:

However, the lightsaber flew past him, into the hand of Rey.
Kylo stared at her, in disbelief. “It is you!” He breathed.
Rey did not understand what he had meant, but she did not care. She light the lightsaber, and charged at Kylo Ren.
Her blue lightsaber collided with Kylo Ren’s red lightsaber. Rey could feel the force inside her, guiding her in the battle.
“I do not want to kill you,” Kylo Ren said, while dodging a blow from Rey.
“You need a teacher,” Kylo Ren insisted. “I can teach you the way of the force.”

((This was awkwardly translated but I hope y’all manage to get a gist from the picture, some of it was directly translated so it may not be perfect, have a good day :D ))

“I am not so much in love with myself as people think.”

“It doesn’t really matter whether your film is about Mao, migrant workers, Japanese ‘devils,’ or the Red Guards and teenagers during the Cultural Revolution. As a filmmaker or scriptwriter, you are only ‘borrowing’ their voices to express things that are hidden inside you…. I personally think it’s impossible for a director to avoid expressing his/her inner self….

“As for the so-called ‘narcissism,’ I don’t quite understand this word. I think this notion could easily lead to misunderstanding. Based on my humble opinion, I know human beings can’t even sustain themselves without some kind of narcissism. Oftentimes I feel I can’t go out every morning without some sort of self-encouragement. Or, every evening I would customarily examine myself as to whether I’ve done something inappropriate. This kind of self-reflection often bothers me. No one is forcing me to behave that way. My friends often remind me that I should treat myself better. Sometimes I am even filled with self-remorse. I am not so much in love with myself as people think. But I don’t know if this is contradictory to the notion of ‘narcissism.’ To me, narcissism probably doesn’t necessarily mean that you are in love with yourself. On the other hand, I completely disagree with the notion that narcissism and autobiography are the two sides of the same coin. To me, every work of art carries some autobiographic traces, my In the Heat of the Sun included. But the characters featured in this film do not necessarily deserve your compassion and love. I don’t think Ma Xiaojun is a role model.”  

- Jiang Wen

interviewed in Lights! Camera! Kai Shi! In Depth Interviews with China’s New Generation of Movie Directors by Shaoyi Sun & Li Xun

(I’m really enjoying and gaining a lot of insight from this book.)


Installing the World’s Oldest Dated Printed Book

The Diamond Sutra from the @britishlibrarycollection is the world’s oldest dated printed book. It’s at the Getty for the exhibition Cave Temples of Dunhuang: Buddhist Art on China’s Silk Road (May 7–September 4). 

Created as a woodblock scroll in 868, the Diamond Sutra is written in Chinese and records teachings of the Buddha. It was found in the so-called Library Cave, which once held 50,000 books and scrolls. 

We are extremely grateful to the British Library for allowing this precious object to travel to L.A.! Handed carefully with clean, dry hands by Susan Whitfield, director of the International Dunhuang Project, based at the Library.

Diamond Sutra, 868 CE. Ink on paper. London, British Library, Or.8210/P.2

happymayaposts​ передала мне замечательную эстафету, в которой нужно рассказать о том, что лежит в моей сумке.
Мне кажется, я немножко не соответствую типичному представлению о том, что у каждой девушки в повседневной сумке можно найти все, что угодно, от 10 видов салфеток, до фена или запасного комплекта одежды. 

В моей сумке всегда чего-то не хватает, обычно это из-за того, что я вечно перекладываю все из одной сумки в другую и всегда что-нибудь забываю или недокладываю. А на картинке мой базовый набор, без которого я вряд ли смогу выйти из дома.

  1. Учебник по китайскому  уже почти как Библия. Приходится все время таскать его с собой, чтобы повторять или доучивать тексты в метро. Общественно политический перевод отбил все желание изучать китайский, и я уже даже забыла, что такое читать нормальные книги в свободное время.
  2. Ноутбук. В этом 11-дюймовом малыше хранится ВСЕ, от фотографий, конспектов, заметок, учебников и важных напоминаний, в общем, все то, что нужно для жизни в институте. Он синхронизирован с телефоном, и вместе они отлично справляются со своими обязанностями - записывать и хранить все, что не помещается у меня в голове.
  3. Зарядка мне необходима всегда, когда у меня больше 2х пар (а значит почти всегда). Очень удобно, даже если поблизости нет розетки, то всегда можно зарядить от ноута.
  4. Ежедневник. Это еще один мой маленький помощник, который был куплен моей подругой в самом прекрасном месте на свете - музее Орсе в Париже. Я очень хотела скетчбук, но их не было, и она решила купить мне ежедневник, поэтому теперь вначале каждого месяца я любуюсь на картины импрессионистов :)
  5. Пенал с микки маусами был куплен в парижском Диснейленде, он совсем небольшой и отлично помещается в любой сумке.
  6. Кошелек - подарок любимого человека, он достаточно большой, при необходимости в него можно впихнуть телефон и ключи, и в экстренных случаях брать с собой, как клатч.
  7. Штучка с собачками, в которой есть 2 отделения для карточек. В ней хранится проездной, пропуск в вуз, карточка из библиотеки и скидка в художественный магазин.
  8. Наушники. К сожалению, в последнее время я вообще не успеваю слушать музыку, даже в метро. Почти всегда в наушниках играют тексты по ОПП, записанные китайцами с противными голосами, а если есть время, то слушаю аудио-уроки по грузинскому языку.
  9. Ланч-бокс, потому что со столовой нам не повезло.
  10. Блеск для губ, который очень вкусно пахнет. Раньше я терпеть их не могла, а этот мне очень понравился, он приятный на вкус, с не таким уж сильным блеском, и очень даже вкусный.

Думаю, что о человеке очень многое можно понять, просто заглянув в его сумку. Не смогла проследить, кто уже отвечал на это, но хочу передать marieblanca​ (я уже знаю, что у тебя там куча всего, и что ты давно не писала в блог:), gaechkina, akhm, exoffline, freedy0, wastetown, ann-jone, slondown, mariagoryachkina, lily-the-doll, aкesomevodka​, read-dasha-read, tetushkasilvia, aleksa–nen, mustbemindfull

Jiang Wen: “Why did you make a fuss about it?”

My reading on Jiang Wen’s work continues! This is probably my last post from this particular book, but I have more texts lined up to devour. As I find interesting passages, I’ll continue to use the #Books on Baze tag for my posts.

Here’s Jiang Wen on directing:

I was “tempted” into directing due to another factor. Although I majored in performing arts, I occasionally went up to the fourth floor of the CATA building, staging self-selected or self-directed short plays there. I remember some professors once commented: you are very good at stage directing and mise-en-scene, even more skillful than students of the Directing Department. To tell you the truth, I didn’t quite understand these comments. What I did was all out of instinct: when one is required to climb a tree, I ask him to climb a tree; when one ought to dive into a trench, I ask him to dive into a trench. Why did you make a fuss about it? Because I didn’t see any taboos on stage, I was alleged to have made use of depth and cross walking. I said to myself: where could this guy go if he didn’t climb a tree? From this I began to realize: first, I could one day direct a play of my own; second, I began to question what the students of the Directing Department were being taught. What I did was quite simple, so how could they come up with such complicated theories?

- Jiang Wen

interviewed in Lights! Camera! Kai Shi! In Depth Interviews with China’s New Generation of Movie Directors by Shaoyi Sun & Li Xun

Jiang Wen: “the current of time can’t flow backward”

Tremendous thanks to those of you who’ve been reading my series of posts on writings about Jiang Wen and his work. Research is even more fun when you can share! More is coming.

Here’s an excerpt from an interview that I meant to post earlier with the other quotes form this book. Jiang Wen is talking about nostalgia (and talking around – as he so often has to do – a larger political point, in this case what I think is a misreading of his subversive In the Heat of the Sun):

If the word “nostalgia” is used, I may agree that In the Heat of the Sun has certain “nostalgic” qualities. But I am not totally sure about this “nostalgic” remembering. There are so many doubts in the film. In addition, I am very doubtful about the notion that nostalgia refers only to the positive feelings of what happened in the past. Recollections of the past are unavoidable in human life. In other words, as soon as something memorable has passed, we as human beings will at least feel some regret. This feeling of “regret” can be easily misunderstood as regret for the disappearance of something good. But I think this is not so simple. Sometimes regret doesn’t mean one wants to go back to the past. For instance, you could be very nostalgic about your first love, but you won’t probably reunite with her if given the opportunity. Therefore, I think not everything you feel nostalgic for is necessarily positive or good. The nostalgia you have is actually a regrettable feeling toward what no longer exists, can’t be repeated, and is impossible to get back. The current of time can’t flow backward, but even if it could, you probably wouldn’t want it to. In this sense, In the Heat of the Sun is not a film about the nostalgic feeling of “how beautiful the past was.”

- Jiang Wen

interviewed in Lights! Camera! Kai Shi! In Depth Interviews with China’s New Generation of Movie Directors by Shaoyi Sun & Li Xun

Jiang Wen: “Too Complicated to Explain”

From Oracle Bones: A Journey through Time in China (a National Book Award finalist) by Peter Hessler:

At the end of my last day on set, I rode away with Jiang Wen in his private van…. I asked the actor about his favorite movies, and he told me that as a young man, over a period of ten years, he had repeatedly watched Raging Bull.

“When I saw that movie,” he said, “it wasn’t as if it was an American movie, or a movie about a boxer. I felt like it was about my home.”

I asked if his copy had Chinese subtitles, and he shook his head. “I only understood ten per cent of it,” he said. “But really it’s just a matter of seeing it and understanding the mood. I liked the shades, the blacks and whites, and I liked the atmosphere. And I liked Robert De Niro, because in that movie he reminds me of my mother. His attitude reminds me of her.”

I asked, somewhat carefully, “What’s your mother like?”

“Too complicated to explain,” he said. “That’s another movie I’ll make someday.”    

FYI, this was during the filming of Warriors of Heaven and Earth. I’ll definitely be posting more from this book!