THE HERDSMAN, HIBISCUS TOWN, BIG LI, LITTLE LI AND OLD LI | Revisit Classics with XIE Jin
In 2008, XIE Jin, the film master and representative of third-generation filmmakers in China, passed away in his hometown. Year 2018 coincides with the 10th anniversary of his decease, so the 21st Shanghai International Film Festival is going to screen 7 works by XIE Jin in the Tribute to Masters program, to commemorate the outstanding filmmaker who started his career in Shanghai and devoted all to the Chinese movie industry.
Works by XIE Jin
HIBISCUS TOWN 4K Restored
STAGE SISTERS 4K Restored
BIG LI, LITTLE LI AND OLD LI in Shanghai Dialect
WOMAN BASKETBALL PLAYER NO.5
THE RED DETACHMENT OF WOMEN
LEGEND OF TIANYUN MOUNTAIN
Among them, HIBISCUS TOWN, starring JIANG Wen, the Jury President for the Golden Goblet Awards this year, will show up in 4K restored format. The film depicts the changing course of the era through the joy and sorrow of ordinary people. The director had managed to, with a delicate and yet drastic lens language, portray the characters pulling themselves together after difficulties and frustrations.
Based on Gu Hua’s novel of the same name, it is a winner at the Golden Rooster Awards, Hundred Flowers Awards, and the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. 30 years after its production by the Shanghai Film Studio in 1986, the Shanghai Film Technology Plant digitally restored it.
There is another film worth special notice – the black and white classic film which just finished 2K restoration BIG LI, LITTLE LI AND OLD LI. It is the only comedy by XIE Jin, starring noted Shanghai stand-up comedy performers Fan Haha, WEN Binbin and more.
Although the film was shot in Shanghai dialect, the finished version was in Mandarin. It is a pity for Chinese cinema. In order to fulfill the final wish of our director and reproduce the charm of Shanghai comedy and culture, the BIG LI, LITTLE LI AND OLD LI in Shanghai dialect will also be debuted this year.
QIAN Cheng, CAO Kefan and QIAO Zhen
The noted figures from the fields of acting, hosting, dubbing, Shanghai stand-up comedy, and Shanghai opera, including XI Meijuan, QIAO Zhen, MAO Shanyu, CAO Kefan, QIAN Cheng, XU Zheng, ZHENG Kai and SHU Yue have joined the all-star dubbing lineup.
BIG LI, LITTLE LI AND OLD LI
The renowned sound engineer ZHAN Xin has served as the sound director of the film; and the leading figure of the new generation of Shanghai stand-up comedy, and Chinese National First-Class actor QIAN Cheng as dialect consultant.
HIBISCUS TOWN 4K Restored Version（1986）
Starring: LIU Xiaoqing, JIANG Wen
In the early 1960s, Hu Yuyin, a beautiful and diligent young woman in Hibiscus Town, runs a rice tofu stall with her husband, Li Guigui. The booming business incurs hatred from Li Guoxiang, the state-run restaurant manager. After several “movements”, Li Guigui is forced to commit suicide. Later, Hu Yuyin falls in love with Qin Shutian, a “rightist” who cleans the streets.
The film is based on the novel of the same name by Gu Hua. In 1987, it grasped Best Feature Film, Best Actress and three other awards at the 7th Golden Rooster Awards, and Best Feature Film, Best Actor and Best Actress at the 10th Hundred Flowers Awards. In 1988, it was also honored with the Crystal Globe at the 26th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
Starring: ZHU Shimao, CONG Shan
The intellectuals Xu Lingjun, is labeled as a “rightist” and transferred from the big city to a pasture in Northwest China for labor reform. He is cared for by the local herdsmen and gets married with the kind and pure village girl Li Xiuzhi. After the “Cultural Revolution”, he gives up his chance of inheriting his father's career and migrating to the United States, and decides to stay and make contributions to the motherland.
Based on the noted work by ZHANG Xianliang, the movie is the winner of Outstanding Film by the Ministry of Culture in 1982 and Best Feature Film at the 6th Hundred Flowers Awards in 1983.
LEGEND OF TIANYUN MOUNTAIN（1981）
Starring: SHI Weijian, WANG Fuli, SHI Jianlan, ZHONG Xinghuo, HONG Xuemin, NIU Ben
Luo Qun, the political commissar is labeled as a rightist and abandoned by his fiancée Song Wei. Wu Yao, who likes persecuting other, while getting rapid promotion, is married with Song Wei. At the time when Luo Qun was in danger, Song Wei’s classmate Feng Qinglan extends her warm and trustful hands. When Luo Qun's case is rehabilitated, Feng Qinglan passes away because of overwork.
The film is adapted from LU Yanzhou's novel of the same name, known for its bold and profound revelation and reflection on the tragedy of the times. After public release, it produced strong social response. The film was awarded Outstanding Film by the Ministry of Culture in 1980; Best Feature Film, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction at the 1st Golden Rooster Awards in 1981; and Best Film at the 4th Hundred Flowers Awards.
STAGE SISTERS 4K Restored Version（1965）
Starring: XIE Fang, CAO Yindi, SHANGGUAN Yunzhu
In the early 1940s, when the Shaoxing opera artists Zhu Chunhua and Xing Yuehong are performing in Shaoxing, they are persecuted by local vicious power. Master Xing asks them to stay true to their opera cause and rule of life before passing away. Three years later, Chunhua and Yuehong become celebrities in Shanghai. Chunhua remains down-to-earth but Yuehong grows steadily more materialistic and is married the theater owner Manager Tang. Chunhua is prepared to re-appropriate LU Xun's novel The New Year Sacrifice, but is vandalized by reactionary forces. Yuehong is finally awakened after experiencing abuses by Manager Tang. The sisters get reunited on the stage and sing the Butterfly Lovers together.
The film that presented the rough fate of Shaoxing opera performers during the transition between old and new China has caused great sensation after release. For the movie, XIE Jin was awarded the Sutherland Trophy at the 24th British Film Institute Awards in 1980, the Golden Eagle Award at the Manila International Film Festival in 1981, and the Jury Award at the 12th Figue-ira da Foz International Film Festival in 1983.
In 2014, as the first color film restored by the Shanghai International Film Festival, the 4K version of STAGE SISTERS became the opening movie of the 17th Shanghai International Film Festival.
BIG LI, LITTLE LI AND OLD LI（1962）
Starring: YAO Debing, LIU Xiasheng, FAN Haha, WEN Binbin
Big Li, chairman of the labor union in a meat processing factory in Shanghai, is a warm-hearted person. He is active in work, but doesn’t like sports, so his physical condition is worrying. Old Li, workshop director, believes that work is far more important than sports. He is very unhappy with his son Little Li, who is so passionate about sports activities. After being elected chairman of the factory's sports association, Big Li not only becomes a sports enthusiast himself, but also inspires Old Li to participate. The sports movement is thus vigorously carried out in the factory.
The film revolves around the different attitudes of three generations of people towards sports. Endowed with strong comedy color and breath of life, it makes people laugh and reflect at the same time.
THE RED DETACHMENT OF WOMEN（1960）
Starring: ZHU Xijuan, WANG Xingang, XIANG Mei, JIN Naihua, CHEN Qiang, NIU Ben, CHEN Shu
In 1930, Wuyishan District, Hainan Island, a revolutionary armed group organized by peasant women - the Red Detachment of Women, is established under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party. Wu Qionghua, the slave of the big landlord, joins the Detachment of Women under the help and guidance of the CPC representative, Hong Changqing. Through rigorous training, she becomes a qualified soldier. After Hong Changqing’s sacrifice, Wu Qionghua resolutely assumes the responsibility to serve as the CPC representative. She leads the Detachment to join the main forces and liberate the Yelin Village. The landlord finally gets its due end.
The film was awarded the Best Feature Film, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor at the 1st Hundred Flowers Awards in 1962. It is also the winner of the third place of the Bandung Award at the 3rd Asian Film Festival in 1964 and the China Film Century Award in 1995.
WOMAN BASKETBALL PLAYER NO.5（1957）
Starring: LIU Qiong, QIN Yi, CAO Qiwei, YU Mingde
Before the establishment of PRC, Lin Jie, the daughter of the boss of East China Basketball Team in Shanghai, falls in love with the leading player of the team, Tian Zhenhua. During a game against foreign marine soldiers, the boss takes bribery and orders the team to lose the game. Due to his nationalist dignity, however, Tian leads the team to victory, against the will of the boss. 18 years later, Tian is now the coach of Shanghai Woman Basketball Team. Xiao Jie, the daughter of Lin, is a girl with basketball talent but also has prejudice towards sports career. Tian educates and helps her with patience. Tian and Lin accidentally reunite and their love is reborn. Xiao Jie is later elected into national team and will participate in international games.
It is the first sports theme color feature shot in New China, honored the Silver Medal at the 6th World Festival of Youth and Students and the Silver Palm at the Mexican International Film Festival in 1960.
XIE Jin (1923-2008), Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province
In 1954, he independently directed the Huai opera short film MEET IN LANQIAO. In 1957, his work WOMAN BASKETBALL PLAYER NO.5, the first sports theme color feature in New China earned him extensive reputation. XIE Jin had directed more than 20 films throughout his life.
“No awards is more important than the audience’s word of mouth”. This is a famous saying of him, as well as a creed he had been adhering to during his lifetime. He was a veritable people’s artist. Since the 1940s when he started his careering as a filmmaker, XIE Jin had always been fighting on the front line of Chinese movie industry, winning a number of recognitions from Golden Rooster Awards, Hundred Flowers Awards and other major film events.
In addition to directing, XIE Jin also devoted himself to education and tutoring. His understanding of film, performance, human nature, and concerns for the world have influenced numerous latecomers such as HUANG Shuqin, JIANG Wen, ZHU Shimao, and LIU Xiaoqing. Besides that, he also established the Shanghai Xie Jin Hengtong Arts School (now Xie Jin Film & Television Art College of Shanghai Normal University) in 1994 and took the position of dean. He took the initiative to discover, teach and introduce newcomers for the Chinese film and television industry. Many of the students who graduated from the school have become remarkable players on the screen, such as FAN Bingbing, ZHAO Wei, and CHEN Sicheng.
In 1993, XIE Jin chaired the jury for the very first edition of Shanghai International Film Festival. In 2007, the 10th Shanghai International Film Festival paid tribute to the film master with the Award for Outstanding Artistic Achievement.