James Mudge at the 10th China Independent Film Festival

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Chinese Independent Film Festival 2013

10th China Independent Film Festival
第十届中国独立影像年度展
文:James Mudge
(伦敦华语视像艺术节总监,英国非主流影片网站www.beyondhollywood.com及全球亚洲影片销售网Yes Asia首席影评撰稿人。)
(Chinese Translation: Jingjing Xie 译:谢晶晶)

The China Independent Film Festival (CIFF), which recently held its 10th edition, is more than a festival, for two very important reasons. Firstly, the very fact that it was able to operate this year is a triumph in itself, having been shut down by the authorities last year at the last moment. Though it’s not an event which goes out of its way to court controversy or make political statements, many of the films screened have not received official approval from the Film Bureau of the State Administration for Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), and many deal with topics which might not be considered suitable, including crime, bullying and social disorder.

Perhaps as a result, despite the festival attracting some very impressive guest directors, in terms of publicity it’s a low-key affair, not widely advertised, even on the campus of Nanjing University of the Arts, where a flagship three day session was held – other events were also held in Dalian and Xiamen. Despite this, it was great to see the screenings in Nanjing being very well attended, most sessions pulling in more than fifty audience members, and many closer to a hundred. As such, the very fact of its continued existence and popularity in the face of such troubles, not to mention the difficulty of funding or finding sponsors for such a festival in China represents effort and passion that’s praiseworthy indeed.

近期结束的第十届中国独立影像年度展(CIFF),超越了简单年度展的意义,其主要原因有两个。首先,该年度展在去年活动预计举行前夕被官方强制关闭,今年该年度展能够如期举行,本身就是一大胜利。虽然活动并不刻意标榜争议,也不作政治宣言,大多展映的影片都是没有获得中国国家广电总局许可的,而且大多影片是关于被认为非恰当题材的内容,包括犯罪、欺侮、和社会不稳定。或许正是因为如此,虽然该年度展邀请到了众多导演参加,但在其公共宣传方面非常低调,没有大规模的广告。即便在本届年度展的展映城市之一南京的主场地,南京艺术学院,关于年度展的宣传也是不太显眼。其他的展映城市还有大连和厦门。尽管如此,还是很高兴地看到南京的影展观众不少,大多场次的观众都超过五十个,很多都近百。因此,该年度展在如此艰难的境况下能够坚持并受欢迎,更不用提为活动在这样的环境中寻求资金和赞助,其体现的组织者对独立电影的努力和激情就是非常值得赞赏的。

Chinese Independent Film Festival 2013

Secondly, CIFF offers a fascinating snapshot of the development of independent film making in China. ‘Independent’ is a word with many meanings, especially in a cinematic context, and while the indie scene is undoubtedly growing and maturing in China, it’s running into complications and difficulties. Although Chinese indie films are enjoying an increasingly healthy presence and haul of awards at overseas festivals, these tend to be limited to a certain number of already established directors, who have previously received some manner of official recognition back home. For first time or upcoming directors, and those who have not submitted their films to SARFT, it’s considerably more difficult, as sending their unapproved works to foreign festivals can result in serious repercussions, or even bans.

As a result, there’s a challenge to define what truly counts as ‘independent’ in Chinese cinema, and even more of a challenge for directors who try to work outside the system – funding, producing, releasing and screening films off the grid being no mean feat, directors often having to self-finance and commit to great personal sacrifice.

其次,CIFF为中国独立电影的发展提供了一个精彩的窗口。“独立”是一个包含了多重意义的概念,特别是在影片创作中。独立影片在中国无疑在发展和成熟,但也遇到了各种问题和挑战。虽然中国独立影片的观众在健康地成长,在海外也屡屡获奖,但这些影片大多来自同样的一小批导演,而且这些导演大都在中国本土获得了一定的官方认可。对于新进导演,和那些没有获得国家广电总局许可拍摄的电影来说,他们的生存更为艰难。将作品送往国外影展会引起较大的麻烦,甚至禁拍。因此,如何定义何谓真正的“独立”中国电影是具有挑战性的。而对尝试在体制外创作的导演来说则更是挑战,影片的筹资、拍摄、发行和放映都需要付出非一般的努力,大多导演都需要自掏腰包,并做出很大的个人牺牲。

Chinese Independent Film Festival 2013

In this context, it was particularly pleasing to see such a variety of different types of films at CIFF this year, with a fascinating selection being screened at the Nanjing event. The festival has an aim of advocating creative freedom, artistic exploration and social responsibility, and it lived up to this by screening films that dealt not only with socially minded topics, but also with love, relationships and the changing of traditions in China.

The ‘independent’ banner covered a range of genres and techniques, from comedy to thriller, through to more art house works, and from commercially minded productions to the experimental, several films pushing what audiences might traditionally understand by the notion of film, as opposed to art. With films screened not only from the Mainland, but also from Hong Kong and Taiwan, the festival gave an overall impression of Chinese language speaking societies being in a state of flux, modernity and its shockwaves ringing in the changes both loudly and quietly, expressed by the directors in numerous ways.

在这样的环境中,今年的CIFF能选出一批风格如此丰富的影片令人非常欣慰,在南京展映的精选作品令人目不暇接。年度展的宗旨是提倡创作自由,艺术探索,社会责任感。其放映的影片正是如此,影片的题材不仅是社会问题,也包括爱,情感和正在改变的中国传统。“独立”的旗帜下涵盖了不同的风格和技巧,从喜剧到悬疑,到更艺术风格的作品,从有商业发行前景的作品到更实验手法的,好些影片挑战了观众对传统电影与艺术区分的认识。入选影片除了来自中国大陆的,也有香港和台湾作品。年度展呈现了当今华语世界在流动、现代性以及在剧烈变化中的悸动,基调有些高昂,有些低回,由不同的导演以多样的手法诠释。

Sadly, I wasn’t able to catch all of the screenings, though what follows is a recap of the films and shorts I was fortunate enough to see.

很遗憾,我未能参加所有影片的放映。下面是一些我有幸看到的长短影片回顾。

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Author: James Mudge

James is a Scottish writer based in London. He is one of BeyondHollywood.com’s oldest tenured movie reviewer, specializing in all forms of cinema from the Asian continent, as well as the angst-strewn world of independent cinema and the plasma-filled caverns of the horror genre. James can be reached at jamesmudge (at) btinternet.com, preferably with offers of free drinks.