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Mahjong: New Independent Chinese Cinema

Wednesday, November 12, 2008
7:00 p.m. Fuck Cinema
Wu Wenguang (China, 2006)

Bay Area Premiere

A founding figure of independent Chinese documentary filmmaking, Wu Wenguang turns the camera on cinema itself in this deliciously spiked investigation of a new battleground between haves and have-nots: in this case, between those on opposite sides of the Beijing Film Studio gates. Wang is an eager young man with drive, determination, and a hand-scrawled script; the only problem is that he’s one of thousands with similar traits. Wu tags along as Wang hectically scrambles from meeting to meeting, discovering that the Chinese film industry—like Hollywood, or any industry—has its share of roadblocks, bad ideas, and windbags (“Why don’t you make the heroine the secret girlfriend of a billionaire?” someone suggests). The three-hour documentary also sits with young women as they audition for the role of a lifetime (a prostitute), and with a pirate DVD seller whose collection could fuel any repertory house. A Chinese counterpart to recent filmmaking deconstructions like Operation Filmmaker or American Movie, Fuck Cinema leaves one thinking exactly what its title suggests.

—Jason Sanders

• Written, Photographed by Wu. (170 mins, In Mandarin with English subtitles, Color, Mini-DV, From the artist)