STRATUM 1: THE VISITORS (DICENG 1: LAIKE)
Directed by Cong Feng, 2013, 71 min, digital. In Mandarin with English subtitles.
Poet and filmmaker Cong Feng started to film a documentary about whole-scale urban demolition in the Beijing suburb of Tongzhou, but discovered that the extraordinary rapidity of change and the furious power of China’s history of destruction required something more experimental, more essay-like. From hallucinatory (are they perhaps utopian? despairing?) images of a bulldozer seeming to conjure up a building from its rubble, we follow two characters wandering through debris, telling stories of childhood trauma (featuring canine, not human loyalty during a horrific episode from the Cultural Revolution). Cong, like a visual paleo-geologist, unearths surreal, chilling images of otherworldly beauty emanating from the buried strata of this collapsing world, whose history threatens to be suffocated by layers of experience, of loss, of unremembered suffering.
About Cinema On The Edge
A film series unlike any other, “Cinema on the Edge: Best of Beijing Independent Film 2012-2014” celebrates the daring spirit and creative innovation of independent filmmakers and festival organizers in mainland China.
This film series features 18 programs of outstanding recent Chinese independent cinema, showcasing the work of such acclaimed filmmakers as Ai Weiwei, Li Luo, Hu Jie, Zou Xueping and Yang Mingming. The series is organized and curated by three of Chinese independent cinema’s most committed supporters: producer and distributor Karin Chien, critic and curator Shelly Kraicer, and filmmaker and anthropologist J.P. Sniadecki. Seven of NYC’s most revered film and cultural institutions will present these works: Anthology Film Archives, Made in NY Media Center by IFP, Asia Society, Maysles Cinematheque, Museum of Chinese in America, Weatherhead East Asian Institute, and UnionDocs.