Tag: Chinese

One Child Nation

November 17th, 2019 — 10:57pm



One Child Nation-  amazon

In 1979, the Chinese government came to the conclusion that if they did not make some radical changes, the next generation’s population would grow enormously. 

They believed that the population would be in the billions and would lead to widespread starvation and be very difficult to manage. Therefore the Chinese government instituted a mandatory one child policy, which was widely publicized and became the “patriotic approach” expected from every Chinese family. Those who disobeyed this dictum and had a second child would be severely punished sometimes by having their home destroyed. Midwives not only performed numerous sterilization procedures and abortions but also at times had to kill newborns who were second children. This policy continued for 25 years before it was finally changed allowing a second child.

Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang directed this documentary film. Much of it was in Chinese with subtitles. It captures and personalizes the impact of this all encompassing social policy. Through interviews with various Chinese people, the viewer can appreciate the very personal meaning of being deprived of the ability to have a second child if one wanted one. Family dynamics are examined especially in some settings where there might be a desire to have a boy and the first child was a girl. The newborn and the very young were abandoned in the streets. There was human trafficking where children were sold to adoption agencies. Many of these children were internationally adopted and ended up in American homes where the adopted parents were not told the true story of their newly adopted child. There also is the story of the search by adopted Chinese children growing up in America who might be interested in finding their birth families.

This film deals with these complicated issues, which have political, social, as well as emotional implications. You come away from this documentary film educated and also moved by the human implications of what you have seen and experienced. (2019)


As always your comments are welcome below:



1 comment » | 3 Stars, Documentary, Foreign, Politics

American Factory

October 20th, 2019 — 8:31pm


American Factory-nf

This a documentary, which allows the viewer to be a “fly on the wall” as real life unfolds in factory in Dayton, Ohio.

A wealthy Chinese businessman opens up a new factory, which makes glass for automobiles, in a closed General Motors Auto Factory in Dayton, Ohio. He brings in from China the people who will be the supervisors of the workers, who come from the local community and are thrilled at being able to get back to work, although their minimum wages are below the wages they made from the now closed auto factory.

Everybody is optimistic that this gigantic plant will rejuvenate the local community. The workers try to get used to the Chinese work culture and the Chinese try to understand the American way of thinking. A delegation of American workers is sent to China where they are wined and dined and participate in the celebration of Chinese culture. The film production team led by producers/directors Steve Bognar and Julia Reichert  have obtained very good access to both the Americans and Chinese working in the factory and they are able to film the workers and their supervisors as they discussed their personal feelings. Things come to a head when there is a movement to unionize the workers, which is opposed by the management. The tension between the two sides builds to an ultimate vote whether this unionization should take place.

This movie highlights important political and social differences between contemporary American and Chinese cultures. It is of note that one of the backers of this film is Barack and Michelle Obama’s new production company, Higher Ground (2019).

Please leave any comments below

Comment » | 4 Stars, Documentary, Politics


July 31st, 2019 — 5:21am



This film written and directed by Lulu Wang is mostly in Chinese with English subtitles. A young woman (played by Awkwafina known for her performances in Crazy Rich Asians and other films) joins her American family as they descend upon nai-nai (grandmother) who lives in China and whom they believe has a fatal diagnosis of cancer). However, the family is set on keeping the information about the deadly prognosis from grandmother because they believe it is the fear that would facilitate her demise. The American relatives join the Chinese relatives in China in what the grandmother thinks is a wedding celebration for her grandson who is supposedly getting married. But really the American family has flown over to China in order to see grandma who they understand has a fatal prognosis. The love and tenderness for grandmother is quite touching as is the extent the family will go to, to keep the fatal prognosis from her.

There is singing, as well as speeches by many family members mostly in Chinese but some in English (but all are translated into English on the screen). There is a rich depiction of Chinese culture. The respect and love for elders permeates the film and is quite touching. Time goes by quite quickly as it does in real life when we believe our time with a loved one is limited. Also, to the backdrop of this family crisis, other family issues emerged. We appreciate the underlying feelings when some family members leave their homeland to immigrate to another country while other members stay behind. Also, family issues seem more intense when we believe we are about to lose a loved family member.

The movie has a certain universality, which will appeal to many viewers and make us contemplate the importance of family and what a potential loss of a loved one would mean to each of us. It is also an opportunity to reflect how when a young person immigrates to the United States for opportunity, there is a cost of being a stranger in a strange land and not having the support of your loved ones who are left in your homeland. All and all, this film will touch your heart as well as telling you an interesting story. (2019)


Your comments are welcome below

Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama, Foreign

Ash Is Purest White

February 12th, 2019 — 11:25pm


Ash Is Purest White -sp

This movie is in Chinese with English subtitles. The director and screenwriter is Jia Zhangke who is married to Zhao Tao, the accomplished star of this film.

The movie was extremely well done with beautiful photography in part because of the French director of photography, Eric Gautier, and an excellent riveting performance by Ms. Tao.

However, in our view, the storyline did not go anyplace. Perhaps the main value of the movie was to show a glimpse into the underworld life in modern day China. There appears to be a gang culture that exists with the usual expected loyalties. The story also depicts the classic situation of unrequited love. If a film is going to take us for 2 hours and 20 minutes, it should develop a pretty tight hold on us, which was not the case here. Maybe the language barrier hindered the ability of the movie to do it for us (2019).

Your comments are invited below

Comment » | 3 Stars, Drama, Foreign

Red Cliff

January 17th, 2010 — 2:12am

Red Cliff* * * *
Red Cliff
– sp- If Steven Spiegelberg were to decide to make a blockbuster movie about the US North-South Civil war and the Battle of Gettysburg most Americans would probably be quite familiar with the various leaders and generals. Even more so apparently are the Chinese and the people of other Asian countries knowledgeable about the cast of characters who took part in the great battles as the armies of the north tried to conquer those of the southern China, leading to the battle at Red Cliff, which took place about eighteen hundred years ago. Director John Woo felt that this was so much the case that he needed to make two versions of this movie, one for non Asian world with more background material and a two part film with even more details of the actual events for the Chinese and others who are familiar with the historical events.

The 2 ½ hour movie which we saw has a brief English narration at the beginning and then is in Mandarin with English subtitles which you soon forget are present. It shows the personal and political decision of the northern dynasty to send it’s huge army which probably numbered in the hundreds of thousands of soldiers to the south to squash the smaller southern coalition. A great deal of the movie consists of battle scenes on the ground and between naval forces. At first we had the impression we were watching a Chuck Norris or Jackie Chen movie that we would only have seen in coming attractions, with bodies whirling through air, swords and spears impaling soldiers, blood squirting out of the period armor, catching spears in mid-flight, horses rearing up, thousand of arrows flying through sky and all sorts of acrobatics. People are being killed everywhere except the main characters who seem to be able to leap between thrusts of opposing soldiers. Then after awhile we realized that in fact we were watching a classic operatic story and ballet in a beautiful setting. John Woo told our film course that he used 1500 hundred Chinese soldiers in the movie and made them look like many times that number of warriors by computer generated editing techniques that he also used to enhance the magnificent appearing background. The movie also vividly shows the brilliant military strategies that were used by the outnumbered army including clever troop formations, innovative weaponry and an exquisite understanding of the forces of nature. Woo also chose to create a story line that was not in the known history of these events that involves the role of some very brave, strong and attractive women.
In the end it is a beautiful, poetic epic movie with an antiwar theme but yet pays homage to the value of people working together for a just cause even against daunting odds. This film has a cast of thousands, used 24 cameras and took 4 1/2 years to make. It obviously cost multi millions of dollars to produce which came from many countries including the Chinese government. We can’t see how it will miss being a tremendous hit in the Asian world and is bound to have a great following in the US. Anyone seeing this movie should be sure to not miss the closing credits, which includes some very moving verse. (2009)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Action, Foreign, War

Back to top