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China in Documentary Film (Leavey Library): Culture


The Chinese Language
"Follows the evolution of the Chinese dialects, which originated 2800 years ago, this episode examines the seven 'dialects' of the Chinese language, all spoken differently from one another, but sharing the same writing system.

Fine Rain: Politics and Folk Songs in China
"Whether they were crafted to spread Mao's message of class struggle or spun from the fabric of everyday life, Chinese folk songs carry with them immense historical and cultural importance. This program examines a wide range of songs and melodies from the country's pre-Communist era to the Cultural Revolution, energized by a rich progression of archival footage, photographs, interviews, and present-day renditions sung in homes and on street corners. The origins, meanings, and political impact of several well-known songs are described, along with an illustration of jianpu, the traditional Chinese system of musical notation, and the distinction between haozi, or workmen's songs, and the urban style known as xiaodiao."

Flavor and Affinity
"The Jin Cheng restaurant in China's Chao region has a reputation for excellence due to its 'Chao' specialties. To guarantee the authenticity of 'Chao' flavors, the supplying of fish, shellfish and tofu, among others, must come from the original source...where the skills of this ethnic group are still applied in accordance with the ancestral rules and where the quality and freshness of the products is indisputable. Nothing can be properly done if the traditions are not respected."

Languages: Chinese, the Spoken and Written Language
"In this introduction to the Chinese language, the commentators demonstrate the spoken and written Chinese language. They also examine the differences between Mandarin and Cantonese."

The Summer Palace: The Secret Gardens of the Last Emperors of China
The Summer Palace, located approximately six miles from Beijing, covers over 700 acres. Within this vast area, a wide variety of palaces, gardens, pagodas, temples and other remarkable buildings can be found, representing a miniature model of the Middle Empire, a genuine living museum of Chinese art. The images captured in these documentaries enable the viewer to experience the daily life of the imperial court of China, a private and secret world as it has existed in so many dynasties, and thereby better understand the spirit of this civilization, the essence of this culture and what the Chinese traditional lifestyle represents."

Wo you yi ge you yu de, xiao wen ti = I've Got a Little Problem
"...chronicles internationally renowned photographer and poet Ren Hang's struggle with Chinese censorship, painful public scrutiny, and manic depression, that eventually sent his life spiraling out of control..."