Cultural listings Cinema
Off Screen, On Form While veteran Hong Kong comedian Stephen Chow does not show up on screen for even a second in his latest movie, the film is unmistakeably Chow’s work. Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons, written and directed by (but, surprisingly, not starring) Stephen Chow, was released in China on February 10, the first day of the Chinese New Year vacation, to great commercial and critical acclaim. Adapted from the 16th-century classic Journey to the West, one of China’s most beloved works of mythological fiction, the movie tells the story of the legendary Buddhist monk Xuanzang, who vanquishes three demons, makes them his disciples and takes them on a pilgrimage to India to obtain sacred sutras. Chow has already paid tribute to the myth in the form of A Chinese Odyssey, a pair of 1994 movies whose highly subversive characters and storylines won Chow a massive cult following in later years. This time, while staying off the screen, Chow makes various nods to his own oeuvre, perhaps making Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons something of a tribute to himself.
Sound of the Underground
More than 100 musicians and artists participated in a two-month music and art festival held by the Post Mountain Art Space in Beijing. From December last year to the end of January 2013, the MOMA-Post Mountain Music and Art Festival showcased some of China’s best independent music, arthouse movies, modern dance, stage drama, installation art and photography. Over the past decade, spaces featuring mainly independent music and avant-garde art in various media have been growing in major cities in China, and now contribute heavily to the development of Chinese underground music and art.
The Art of Reflection A recent exhibition entitled The Ode to Elegance attempts to review the development of art in the past fifteen years in Guangdong Province, the front line of China’s policy of Reform and Opening-up. Though widely known for its strong business culture, the province has long been one of the most active centers of cultural exchange between China and the rest of the world. Held from February to March, the exhibition showcases selected works from the Guangdong Museum of Art from the past fifteen years, and is divided into three sections, focusing respectively on reflections of common people, intellectuals and the State consciousness.
By Mu Xin (compiled by Chen Danqing)
In 1989, Mu Xin began his series of “literary lectures” in New York in the apartments of his “students,” most of whom were newly-arrived young artists from the Chinese mainland. He was already 62 years old at the time, having been in the United States for seven years. At first scheduled to continue for one year, the series went on for five. Yet, few on the mainland knew about this Chinese literary scholar in the new world. A well-educated painter born in 1927, Mu was detained for 18 months during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), during which time his works were banned and all of his paintings burned by the authorities. Before he fled to the States, Mu had been under house arrest for a further three years. Yet the young art students, many of whom later became famous in China’s contemporary art scene, loved his lectures. Chen Danqing, one of the most influential among the students, kept five notepads of lecture notes. By November 2011, when Mu Xin passed away, he had gained widespread recognition among mainland readers. The scribblings from those five notepads, compiled by Chen, have now become the Literary Memoirs of Mu Xin. CHINA WEEKLY I March 2013
April 2013 Issue