Istanbul Museum of Modern Art Looks East For Chinese Film Week

Festival Includes Seven Recent Chinese Films

Films on show at this week's Chinese Film Week include the 2009 hit "Bodyguards & Assassins"

Films on show at this week's Chinese Film Week include the 2009 hit "Bodyguards & Assassins"

Running through March 29 in the Turkish capital, the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art‘s Chinese Film Week — jointly organized with the Chinese Embassy — will expose local audiences to seven recent examples of contemporary Chinese film as part of the 2012 China Culture Year in Turkey. Showing at the city’s Istanbul Modern Cinema, Chinese Film Week kicked off earlier this week with a gala event featuring a demonstration of traditional Chinese gymnastics, high-wire acrobatics and martial arts by the Henan Acrobatic Ensemble.

The mainland Chinese and Hong Kong films showing at this week’s event include “Confucius,” “Walking to School,” “The Message,” “Go Lala Go!” “Dreams of Jinsha,” “Bodyguards and Assassins” and “Forever Enthralled,” which were originally released between 2008-2011. Films are shown in Chinese with Turkish subtitles.

Though most of these films have received decidedly mixed reviews both in China and elsewhere, Yu Jian, cultural counselor at the Chinese Embassy in Ankara, told the Turkish newspaper Today’s Zaman this week that they’re good representations of the development of Chinese cinema. Said Yu, “Through watching these films, Turkish audiences can reach a better understanding of Chinese society and culture.” From Yu’s interview:

Yu listed several examples from the films — “Confucius” tells the life story of the well-known Chinese philosopher and educator Confucius; “Dreams of Jinsha,” with its beautiful pictures and heart-touching story of a young boy’s dream and growth, demonstrates the achievements of the Chinese cartoon industry; and “Walking to School” reflects the educational situation in China’s countryside. “Go Lala Go!” shows the lives of young white-collar workers who pursue successful careers in China’s metropolises.

Yu added that Chinese Film Week is only the first of several cinematic events slated to take place this year in Turkey. Next month, China will be among the countries represented at the Istanbul International Film Festival, showing a set of screenings of Wuxia films including “Fearless” (2006), “Ashes of Time Redux” (2008) and “Zu: Warriors From the Magic Mountain” (1983). Asked about future plans for cooperation with Istanbul Modern as part of the celebration of Chinese Culture Year 2012, Yu said the Chinese Embassy is planning to launch a wide-ranging exhibition of modern and contemporary Chinese art this September. Let’s just hope the artists the Embassy brings over have better reputations in China than, say, “Go Lala Go!” or “Confucius.”



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