November 03, 2010
Fall 2010 CCS Chinese Film Series - Useless (无用)
Date: Saturday, November 13, 2010
Place: Angell Hall, Auditorium A
(enter via glass doors at fishbowl, off diag)
A film by JIA Zhangke (贾樟柯); China, 2007; 80 minutes (Mandarin with English subtitles)
A beguiling blend of documentary interviews and staged action portraits, Useless focuses nominally on haute couture designer Ma Ke as she unveils a new fashion line, but expands in unexpected ways to become an exploration on the burgeoning clothing industry in China and its ultimate toll on human labor and life. We meet Ma Ke in her trendy Shanghai boutique as she laments how industrialized labor has stolen the soul from Chinese fashion: "It is absurd that China is the largest exporter of clothes in the world and doesn't have any well-known brand." Her solution is the introduction of a new brand, Useless, featuring hand-made clothes which she infuses with "personal histories" (including burying them in dirt). Director Jia Zhangke follows Ma Ke from her boutique, to drives in the countryside (where she claims to find her inspiration for her authentic designs), to the unveiling of her line at Paris Fashion Week. "A shape-shifting work that overturns expectations at every turn . . . " Kevin B. Lee, Slant Magazine.
Director Jia Zhangke (贾樟柯), born 1970 in Fenyang, Shanxi, China, is generally regarded as a leading figure of the "Sixth Generation" movement of Chinese cinema. Jia's early films, a loose trilogy based in his home province of Shanxi, were made outside of China's state-run film bureaucracy, and therefore are considered "underground" films. Beginning in 2004, Jia's status in his own country was raised when he was allowed to direct his fourth feature film, The World, with state approval. Jia's films have received critical praise and have been recognized internationally, notably winning the Venice Film Festival's top award for Still Life. He has been described by critics and film directors alike as being one of "the most important filmmakers working in the world today."
Posted by zzhu at November 3, 2010 07:52 PM