Films

Bangzi Melody

Bangzi Melody, "Cun Xi"

International Premiere

Synopsis

Director

1982. The dead of winter. In a village in northeastern China, peanut farmers get wind of momentous changes afoot from an accidental broadcast on the commune’s public address system. Land reform has been ordered from up high, and they are to welcome this upheaval in their lives by staging a traditional opera for visiting cadres. But what to do about Mad Kui, the commune outcast who carries their night soil, yet daily he tests the villagers and embarrasses his own son with his lunatic antics. How is the village’s new age to dawn when its revolutionary past bestowed a madman with the most coveted land around?

 

Bangzi Melody dives into that hidden past with astonishing acuity and alacrity, recalling the pendulum swings of recent Chinese history by cutting between a black-and-white post-Mao present and the selectively heightened, remembered reds and greens of the Cultural Revolution. Under the silent poster gaze of Communist grandees Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao, a tragedy unfolds of an inconvenient madman in one epoch and a convenient hero in another.

 

As the undulant beat of the titular bangzi (clapper-drum) sounds a capricious future – after all, verboten old melodies can suddenly and without explanation be ushered back into favor – so the drum’s continuous playing underlines politics for the peasantry as cruelly absurdist performance – amateur operas where non-professionals role-play in acts codified by distant and unseen authors. The fact that the actors in "Bangzi Melody" are themselves non-film professionals adds tantalizing self-reflexivity to the richly metaphorical layers of director Zheng Dasheng’s brazen satire.   

Cheng-Sim Lim

Dasheng Zheng

earned his undergraduate degree from Shanghai Drama Academy China before receiving his MFA in filmmaking at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His film “A Tao” (2000) won a jury prize at the Shanghai International TV Festival. In 2005, “Death of Wang Bo” won a Golden Rooster at the Hundred Flowers Film Festival. His 2012 feature film “Useless Man” was an Official Selection of the 36th Montreal International Film Festival.

Filmography

  • Falling City (2012)
  •  Tianjin Xianren (A Useless Man, 2012)
  • CUN XI (Bangzi Melody, 2017)  

Schedule

01.12.2017
18:00 - 20:09
Tallinn, 
Kosmos IMAX
Hall IMAX
Subtitles: EST, ENG
Screening code: 151501
Guests (2)
Sold out
Movie guests:  Director Zheng Dasheng, Producer Zhang Zhongming
02.12.2017
15:45 - 17:44
Tallinn, 
Coca-Cola Plaza
Hall 9
Subtitles: EST, ENG
Screening code: 160601
Guests (2)
Sold out
Movie guests:  Director Zheng Dasheng, Producer Zhang Zhongming
02.12.2017
21:45 - 23:24
Tartu, 
Cinamon
Hall 5
Subtitles: EST, ENG
Screening code: 161903
Sold out
Screenings with guests might end later than expected.

Programme

Official Selection

Film info

Country: China
Year: 2017
Duration: 99 minutes
Language: Chinese
Director: Dasheng Zheng
Writer: Baoluo Li
DOP: Dan Shao
Montage: Xiaohong Chen
Composer: Qi Li
Cast: Zhibin Li, Chunzhu Liang,  Chunmin Wang,  Huijuan Zhang,  Aihua Lu
Production: Shanghai Film Group Co. Ltd.

Synopsis

Director

1982. The dead of winter. In a village in northeastern China, peanut farmers get wind of momentous changes afoot from an accidental broadcast on the commune’s public address system. Land reform has been ordered from up high, and they are to welcome this upheaval in their lives by staging a traditional opera for visiting cadres. But what to do about Mad Kui, the commune outcast who carries their night soil, yet daily he tests the villagers and embarrasses his own son with his lunatic antics. How is the village’s new age to dawn when its revolutionary past bestowed a madman with the most coveted land around?

 

Bangzi Melody dives into that hidden past with astonishing acuity and alacrity, recalling the pendulum swings of recent Chinese history by cutting between a black-and-white post-Mao present and the selectively heightened, remembered reds and greens of the Cultural Revolution. Under the silent poster gaze of Communist grandees Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao, a tragedy unfolds of an inconvenient madman in one epoch and a convenient hero in another.

 

As the undulant beat of the titular bangzi (clapper-drum) sounds a capricious future – after all, verboten old melodies can suddenly and without explanation be ushered back into favor – so the drum’s continuous playing underlines politics for the peasantry as cruelly absurdist performance – amateur operas where non-professionals role-play in acts codified by distant and unseen authors. The fact that the actors in "Bangzi Melody" are themselves non-film professionals adds tantalizing self-reflexivity to the richly metaphorical layers of director Zheng Dasheng’s brazen satire.   

Cheng-Sim Lim

Dasheng Zheng

earned his undergraduate degree from Shanghai Drama Academy China before receiving his MFA in filmmaking at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His film “A Tao” (2000) won a jury prize at the Shanghai International TV Festival. In 2005, “Death of Wang Bo” won a Golden Rooster at the Hundred Flowers Film Festival. His 2012 feature film “Useless Man” was an Official Selection of the 36th Montreal International Film Festival.

Filmography

  • Falling City (2012)
  •  Tianjin Xianren (A Useless Man, 2012)
  • CUN XI (Bangzi Melody, 2017)