Asian Film Festival to explore China's independent cinema

Author: Arts and Letters


The University of Notre Dame will welcome filmmakers and scholars to campus Thursday to Saturday (April 19 to 21) for its annual Asian Film Festival and conference, this year titled On the Edge: New Independent Cinema from China.

The festival will showcase five award-winning independent films from China and engage the filmmakers in candid discussions about the global politics of China’s burgeoning independent film industry.

Anne Thurston, a senior research professor at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C., and author of numerous books on Chinese contemporary politics, will deliver a keynote address titled “Rising China? The Other China? Thoughts from China’s Grassroots.” Her talk, which will detail the country’s social realities that she feels are commonly misunderstood by Washington policymakers, will take place at 4p.m. April 19 in the Browning Cinema of the DeBartolo Center for the Performing Arts.

The films, to be screened in the Browning Cinema, are:

  • “Walking on the Wild Side” by Han Jie, 5p.m. April 19, a drama centered on a youth gang in a coal-mining area of China’s Shanxi province (winner of the Tiger Award at the Rotterdam International Film Festival)
  • “Unknown Pleasures” by Jia Zhangke, 8:30p.m. April 19, two unemployed slackers try to make sense of their aimless and uncertain futures in a sheltered town in China
  • “The Silent Holy Stones” by Wanma Caidan, 7p.m. April 20, traces theintermingling of native Tibetan culture with the influence of the outside world (winner of China’s national film award for best directorial debut)
  • “The Orphan of Anyang” by Wang Chao, 10p.m. April 20, three different lives, three different fates, each with their different backgrounds and experiences, struggle to survive at the bottom level of Chinese society (winner of the FIPRESCI Prize at the Chicago International Film Festival)
  • “Blind Shaft” by Li Yang, 2p.m. April 21, two itinerant miners risk their lives under dangerous working conditions and develop questionable morals in order to survive (winner of the Silver Bear Award at the Berlin International Film Festival)

A complete schedule of events is available on the Web at .

The conference is sponsored by Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, Office of Research, Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies, Office of the Provost, Office of Undergraduate Studies, University Relations, Center for Asian Studies, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, DeBartolo Center for the Performing Arts, Department of Film, Television and Theatre (FTT), FTT Talks, International Student Services and Activities, Office of Information Technologies, John A. Kaneb Center for Teaching and Learning, Center for Creative Computing, Chinese Friendship Association, Campus Ministry, Division of Student Affairs, and Notre Dame Alumni Association.

Contact: Jonathan Noble, East Asian Languages and Cultures, 574-631-7465,

Originally published by Shannon Chapla at on April 16, 2007.