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Onderhond's Top 62 China 2.0

500<400, Favourite 1001 movies, Doubling the Canon, Film World Cup and many other votes
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Ivan0716
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Re: Onderhond's Top 62 China 2.0

#121

Post by Ivan0716 » December 28th, 2018, 10:39 pm

Yeah I find his first two films to be not only better, but also funnier, Let the Bullets Fly was - while entertaining - too farcical for me to actually laugh at.

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Onderhond
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#122

Post by Onderhond » December 29th, 2018, 8:45 am

03. Baober in Love [Lian Ai Zhong De Bao Bei] by Shaohong Li - Romance/Fantasy [2004/95 mins]

(11 checks | 0 official lists) - Sources: IMDb - ICM

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One of the more notable gaps in my film collection, also a film that's in dire need of BluRay treatment. It's a shame that it's so hard to get to a copy of this one, since it's one of the finest early 00 Chinese films.

Shaohong Li (girl power!) delivers a very visual, high octane blend of romance and fantasy, one of the first films that got me into Chinese cinema. And with that, we've broken into the top 3!

The film dares to embrace the urban and technical revolution China underwent during the last ten years, translating that sentiment in a more genre-based approach while edging away from activist and moralist film making and betting on entertainment. It's a lot lighter than earlier Chinese films, without being particularly feel-good or a downright comedy.
Visually Baober In Love is a dream. Li pulls out all the stops to make this film look as nice as possible. Weird camera angles, experimental editing techniques, magnificent camera work and some slight mixed media experiments are all aided by lush sets and superb use of color and lighting.
The soundtrack is pretty awesome too. An almost entirely electronic/dance-driven soundtrack which further fuels the modern feel of the film. The soundtrack is by no means too extreme or inaccessible, but the effect is still very refreshing. There are some very smart and atmospheric tracks that I wouldn't even mind owning on a CD. Again, I know of no Chinese film that preceded Baober on this, hell, even contemporary Western films are still struggling with electronic music.

Full review for Shaohong Li's Baober in Love >>

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#123

Post by Onderhond » December 30th, 2018, 8:54 am

02. Pk.com.cn (2008) by Jiang Xiao - Fantasy/Drama [2008/94 mins]

(6 checks | 0 official lists) - Sources: IMDb - ICM

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A film that is probably too modern for its own good. Like most films about/belonging to the "internet generation", it was quickly tossed aside as being too incoherent, but that would be doing great injustice to pk.com.cn

It's not an easy film to find, neither is it an easy film to watch if you're just looking for narratives. That's something I rarely do though , so this was right up my alley.

pk.com.cn isn't part of the MTV-generation, it's a film belonging to the flourishing internet generation. A generation that undoubtedly carries an MTV legacy, but has different ideals and motives. The fact that the film originated from an internet novel is part of that, product placement of websites another, but it's mostly a stylistic and structural thing. The short attention span of the surfer, the redo/rework/mashup attitude of the creator. Both are very apparent in pk.com.cn, in every department.
Visually pk.com.cn is a collage of styles. It takes, imitates, mixes and blends different visual styles together to form a pretty unique flavor. While boasting quick edits and bold stylistic choices the whole is more organic and less jolted than what we got in the 90s. The score is an equally interesting mix of styles. Alternative pop, hip-hop and electronica are fused together, resulting in something that does not belong in either worlds but stands on its own two feet.
The style determines the pacing and the progression of the story. Regularly the film is paused for musical interludes featuring modern dance. Or simple stylistic reflections on the characters. And of course there's that guy in a polar bear suit that appears a couple of times throughout the film. All these things are part of the proud tradition of mashups, creating something new and fresh from existing bits and pieces.

Full review for Jiang Xiao's Pk.com.cn >>

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Onderhond
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#124

Post by Onderhond » December 31st, 2018, 7:48 am

01. Lee's Adventure by Frant Gwo & Yang Li - Romance/Comedy [2011/91 mins]

(11 checks | 0 official lists) - Sources: IMDb - ICM

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People who are aware of my taste in films won't be surprised by this number one, of course this entire list is little more than a filter on my personal top 420 so the whole list was pretty easy to deduct, at least for those fond of Sherlocking.

It's another modern film spearheaded by Jaycee Chan. That's two for two, not bad. A film that grew out of an internet phenomenon and is quite difficult to describe. It's one of those things that just has to be experienced.

Lee's Adventure is a mixed media rework of the cult short film bearing the same name, originally released in 2009. The original was a 20 minute short sporting different kinds of animation styles, the 2011 adaptation throws in some live action scenes to further increase the sensory chaos. Incorporating animation in a more natural and intuitive way is rapidly becoming a trend though, contrasting the stark and almost stand-alone animation sequences that began to creep into more commercially-minded films a good 10 years ago
Visually the film is all over the place, still there is a consistent quality that runs through the film. The live action sequences are lushly photographed, every single frame looks impressive and detailed. There are quite a few memorable shots too, add to that the snappy and precise editing and you have a very attractive film. The animation sequences pop up whenever things get too weird to handle in live action. The quality of the animation is not entirely up to par, but the art style is cool and the animation sequences are integrated really well with the live action scenes.
Rating this film is not very hard, recommending it is a different story though. Lee's Adventure resides in a modern, cutting-edge segment of today's film business. It's literally all over the place, shifting tones, moods and artistic styles rapidly and indiscriminately. It truly carries the voice of a new generation. I find the result refreshing, entertaining and even inspirational, but people looking for a conform, well-written, singular story with thematic clarity will probably toss this film aside and mumble something about MTV-style editing.

Full review for Gwo & Li's Lee's Adventure >>

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Onderhond
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#125

Post by Onderhond » December 31st, 2018, 7:48 am

And with that the list is neatly finished on the last day of the year. Finally, as promised: the entire list on ICM! Whenever there's another Chinese challenge, do think back of this thread, I'm sure there's something for everyone here.

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Angel Glez
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#126

Post by Angel Glez » December 31st, 2018, 10:12 am

Well done, even if your attractive presentation is better that the films themselves. :P (just joking)

My own favorites are Springtime in a Small Town and Mr. Six... two of the least onderhonded. :lol:

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#127

Post by Lonewolf2003 » December 31st, 2018, 10:56 am

Thanks for the great countdown. It was fun following this even when I haven’t seen anything of it. I will keep my eyes out for some on Netflix and such.
Btw in fact I think there is Chinese challenge next month.

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fori
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#128

Post by fori » December 31st, 2018, 11:37 am

Just under half, darn. Need to up my efforts.

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Onderhond
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#129

Post by Onderhond » December 31st, 2018, 2:41 pm

Angel Glez wrote:
December 31st, 2018, 10:12 am
My own favorites are Springtime in a Small Town and Mr. Six... two of the least onderhonded. :lol:
I'd recommend Crosscurrent, The Go Master, "Here, Then" and Life Show (if you haven't seen them already). And Mr. Six is quite an "onderhond" film I think :)
Lonewolf2003 wrote:
December 31st, 2018, 10:56 am
I will keep my eyes out for some on Netflix and such. Btw in fact I think there is Chinese challenge next month.
Won't hold my breath for Netflix releases, it's weird that China isn't more invested in those (as they're literally trying everything to get their films out there). I do hope Animal World will still make it though, not sure what's holding up the NL release there.
And someone else mentioned something about a Chinese challenge earlier (I think it was February), so I'll keep my eyes open?
fori wrote:
December 31st, 2018, 11:37 am
Just under half, darn. Need to up my efforts.
Honestly, I think you can not watch a Chinese film for the next 10 years and still end up #2 Top Viewer on this list :p

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