Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Film Review Essay

Still Life (Sanxia haoren)

Directed by Jia Zhangke Distributed by New Yorker Films DVD, 108 minutes, color, 2006 Reviewed by Xurong Kong and Sue Gronewold In contrast to the so-called “Fifth Generation” filmmakers who used only 35mm cameras, Jia Zhangke, perhaps the most prominent of the “Sixth Generation,” prefers to use digital equipment, which seems less professional but also more convenient. This equipment is ideal to carry on Jia’s cinematic mission: to focus on the gritty life of the lower classe...

Film Review, Film Review Essay, Resources

Spirits of the State: Japan’s Yasukuni Shrine

One of the most difficult issues to teach and explain, whether in the classroom, in public forums, or in friendly conversations, is the seemingly implacable rift between Japan and its neighbors. Sixty years after a catastrophic war in the region, when one would think time would have healed at least some of the wounds, the divisions between the countries in East Asia appear to be growing wider rather than narrowing. Political concerns go a long way to explicate these divisions—the rise of China...

Film Review Essay, Resources

China Yellow, China Blue Part I: The Time of Troubles Part II: The People’s Republic of China

There is one reason and only one reason to use this film: the extraordinary film footage that it contains. Relying almost exclusively on documentary films and official newsreels, filmmaker Ahmed Lallem, with co-production support from France 3 and Pdj Films, chronicled one hundred years of modern Chinese history. Rather than using talking heads, stills, or film clips, this two-part film is a compilation of movie images of the century, which lends it a particularly powerful immediacy and demonstr...

Columns, Film Review

Through Chinese Women’s Eyes

Through Chinese Women’s Eyes was filmed in Shanghai and Beijing by Dr. Mayfair Yang, professor of anthropology at the University of California at Santa Barbara. This film looks closely at the contrast between Maoist and post-Maoist China through the words and experiences of female factory workers, office personnel, academics, entrepreneurs, and women employed in new categories of service work like today’s popular “hospitality girls.” Using a seamless integration of narration, interviews,...