For those of you finally seeing the back of the Christmas weight gain, have some sympathy for those of us who live with a foot in both China, and the West, and are now heading again into further festivities. With nearly two weeks of celebration, mainly marked by meals, snacks, and other culinary over indulgences, it’s no surprise that China has collectively decided to escape into cinema for a respite from food and family.
As usual, anticipation has built up over the last few months for the greatest annual celebration in the Chinese calendar, and among the food shopping, clothes buying, and decorating, bookings have been flooding in to cinemas by the millions, reserving seats during what is now the busiest cinema season of the year. Hesuipian, or “films to celebrate the birth of a new year” are now integral part of Spring Festival, but the tradition only really established itself in the late 90s.
Posted in Culture and tagged china, Chinese, cinema, culture, film, hesuipian, new year movie, pop culture, Spring Festival
This year’s Qixi (Double Seven) festival was marked in a few interesting ways. Western brands like Gucci released ‘couple’ ads featuring LGBT partners, and Gong Jun, star of hit series Word of Honour appeared on Xuehua Beer cans. Though dressed in modern clothing, he is depicted wielding a paper fan, and surrounded by a colour scheme reminiscent of his character’s signature teal hanfu. He is just one of thousands of Chinese stars who lend their images to advertising, and there is a particular dynamism to Chinese drinks can and bottle art, which has flourished over the last decade, inspiring the art of other media and reaching far outside China.
Posted in Culture and tagged advertising, art, bottles, cans, china, Chinese, culture, drinks, food and drink, marketing, pop art, pop culture, soft drinks
With the release of Big Fish & Begonia, Xueting Christine Ni looks at China’s diverse pantheon that influenced the animation… As a public speaker who saw the oncoming wave of Chinese animation in the early 2000s, and who spent the last decade promoting these to West, it was my absolute joy to introduce Big Fish & Begonia this spring to the general public at various venues in London for the cinema release. Summer brings the home media release, set for the 9th of July, which coincides with the UK publication of my new book From Kuan Yin to Chairman Mao: An Essential Guide to Chinese Deities. Many of the beings I have written about are also featured in this 21st-century animation, and one of the reasons I have written the book is to demonstrate the contemporary relevance of these deities. In this article, I take a look at their origins and their reinterpretation in the film. China has a long tradition of taking inspiration from its Shen Hua (mythology) for the creation its Dong Hua (animation), from classics such as the 1964 Uproar in Heaven and Nezha Conquers the Dragon King (1979), to The Calabash Brothers (1986) and recent renditions of Investiture of the Gods. Certain deities, such as ones that have evolved with urban entertainment, tended to be focused on. Big Fish & Begonia takes a fresh angle on the subject. The story is set in the Undersea, the world of Chun, heroine of the story. Based on the concept Gui Xu from the 4th to 5thcentury BCE Daoist text Lie Zi, Undersea is the final Continue Reading →
Posted in Culture and tagged animation, Big Fish & Begonia, china, Chinese, culture, Daoism, deities, fantasy, pop culture
As one of the major directors in Chinese cinema, any new work of Tsui Hark’s is exciting news, let alone any work released outside China and Chinese-speaking regions. As relatively more Chinese films make their way to Western cinemas, some top-bill Wuxia titles are now sharing the summer slot with Hollywood Blockbusters. This summer sees the global release of “Detective Dee: The Four Heavenly Kings”, the third film in Judge Dee series (after “Mystery of the Phantom Flame” and “Rise of the Sea Dragon”), produced by renown and award-winning producer Nansun Shi (Infernal Affairs, Seven Swords, Chinese Ghost Story). Five years would have given this film considerable build-up, especially after the second one, which, despite the bold steps it took, was by far the weaker of the two.
Posted in Commentary and tagged china, Chinese, cinema, culture, Detective Dee, film, pop culture, review, Tsui Hark, Wuxia
When I first heard about this Chinese animation, it was in the context of bankable dissent, so I was pre-disposed to dismissing this work, but when I actually had a chance to see some of the footage, I was thoroughly impressed, and subsequently, very happy to hear it was being screened at the Genesis.
Posted in Culture and tagged animation, china, Chinese, culture, Dong Hua, film, indie, pop culture, synth pop
From the outside, China has a unified people. It presents itself as a united country when dealing with any outsiders, though internally, they are proud of the 56 ethnic groups which make up the whole. Each region having its own customs and rich history.
These days, with the increasingly widespread presence of mobile phones, wifi and other communication channels, new communities spring up, and new tribal lines are drawn. One of the nascent new people of China, are a community whose mythic stories star giant robots, whose traditional dress is Cosplay, and whose folk dances consist of spinning leeks.
Posted in Culture and tagged anime, Bienshen, china, Chinese, cosplay, culture, doujinshi, Geek, Henshin, maid cafe, MMORPG, moe, mung, pop culture, tongren, Transformers, Zhai
An interview with the band Vagabond Street, by John YingLing, for his upcoming documentary, China Underground.
I’ve translated about 3 hours of interviews for this project, which is now heavily into post production (but could still do with more funding). This will be one of the video programe available to accompany my talk “Peking Into Punk”.
Posted in Translation and tagged china, China Underground, Chinese, documentary, film, Guangzhou, indie music, music, pop culture, punk, rock, Vagabond Street
We’re half way through a very busy month, of conventions, appearances and traveling. A month that started off with a fantastic weekend at Auto Assembly. Europe’s largest Transformers convention. We were made to feel so welcome, that I had to write something for my new friends and followers.
Let me tell you a bit about Transformers in China.
Posted in Culture and tagged china, Chinese, Guangzhou, pop culture, toys, Transformers