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China: Independent directors funded

With the news of Chinese broadcasting regulation body SARFT‘s decision to heavily invest in future films from sixteen of China's hottest young independent directors, one might jump to the conclusion that official regulators are just as tired of the same few big-name directors as many Chinese netizens are. LiLiang, for example, commenting at the Kaiju Shakedown blog:

“As for Zhang Yimou, Feng Xiaogang and Chen Kaige, the larger the budgets they get for making movies, the worse their directing gets. Maybe somebody should impose a US$64,267 budget LIMITATION on any scripts those three decide to direct in the next few years. This might just even up Chinese cinema all around.”

Or does the five hundred thousand RMB per film per director come at a price? Nominee Xu Jinglei, for example, the world's most linked-to blogger and director of the film version of a novel once banned in China. It does, according to an official press statement reposted on Bullog blogger Jajia's space [zh], which quotes a SARFT representative as saying that these independent directors’ resulting films will be encouraged to follow the theme of ‘Harmonious Society‘, as well as required to obtain prior permission from both SARFT and China's Central Propaganda Department.

Here's what most of Jajia's readers at independent blog aggregator Bullog had to say:

据说
鲁迅是拿了苏联卢布的

They Say:
Lu Xun took Soviet Rubles

天黑了
黄金甲投资360000000,可以资助720部电影,很容易取舍

It's Getting Dark:
360 million RMB was invested in Curse, enough to fund 720 movies. Not a tough choice to make.

天天上愁的牛
无孔不入啊,真狠

Worrywart Cow:
Nothing escapes them, they're so heartless.

韦小宝
就他妈的不说影片需要赢得观众首肯

Wei Xiaobao:
Why the f*** don't they say the films need to win audience approval?

东北风转西南风
‘党代表'又回来了

Northeast Wind Turns Southwest:
“The Party Representatives” are back again.

5151
要争取既赢得广电总局的首肯,又赢得中宣部的首肯。
—————————————-
无耻

5151:
“But they need to gain approval from SARFT and the Central Propaganda Department”

Shameless.

我操
在资助形式上,除了为这些导演新创作的优秀剧本给予50万元的资金资助外,还将在剧本论证、影片发行等多方面给予政策支持。
拿这么点钱拍主旋律,打发谁呢?

F*** That:
“With the funding, other than giving subsidies of 500,000 RMB to directors with original and new scripts, policy support in marketing and distribution will also be given to the scripts.”
Taking this little of money to film according to a central theme, who are they fooling?

zmyroy
所谓从良

zmyroy:
For the so-called good.

罗纷纷
广电总局准备把这几个导演毁了

Luo Fenfen:
SARFT's going to ruin these directors.

[Eight people voted to support the above comment, a significantly higher number than all other comments received]

Merlin
本来就是一群retard,毁什么?

Merlin:
They're just a bunch of retards, what's there to ruin?

三套
针对近年来主旋律影片无人喝彩的情况,这位负责人指出,忽视和谐社会建设和三个代表重要思想,是这种现象的症结所在。
———————————————–
什么逻辑丫
怎么听不懂滴~~

Channel 3:
“In light of several years of films with themes receiving nobody's acclaim, this director points out, the neglecting of such important ideals as ‘building a harmonious society’ and ‘the three represents’ is the source of the problem.”
What kind of logic is that?!
Why don't I understand?

dontoaskwhoiam
完了。
钱不是那么好拿滴。

dontoaskwhoiam:
It's over!
Money's not that simple to get.

乱葬岗出版总社
取得过初步成绩的
--------------
这叫什么政策,已经有初步的成绩的正好交给市场嘛;应该挖掘那些更需要资金的啊

Mass Grave Publishing House:
“…has already shown preliminary results…”
You call this a policy? If there are already preliminary results, then hand them over to the market. They ought to dig up those who need funding most!

凸凸
拿了人家的手短!看来要吃人家的饭,就该给人家说话了.

Tutu:
Accepting other people's assistance! If they're going to “eat other people's rice”, then they should let those people speak.

牛犊子
又见主旋律~!

Calfling:
There's that theme again!

123
这位负责人指出,忽视和谐社会建设和三个代表重要思想
————————
两个core都不得罪

123:
“…this director points out, the neglecting of such important ideals as ‘building a harmonious society’ and ‘the three represents'[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Represents]…”
Nothing wrong with those.

jiaona
恶心

jiaona:
Disgusting。

jiaona
老子要当选村长

jiaona:
Pops wants to be village chief.

五页长
将新舆论企图用金钱和权力扼杀在摇篮之中.这一招 ,狠!!

Five pages long:
Attempt to use money and power to kill new popular opinion while its still in the cradle? To resort to this, inhuman!

cccp
针对近年来主旋律影片无人喝彩的情况,这位负责人指出,忽视和谐社会建设和三个代表重要思想,是这种现象的症结所在。国产影片决不能单纯追求投资和制作规模的宏大,要努力提高政治觉悟,提升作品的政治内涵和思想品格。要争取既赢得广电总局的首肯,又赢得中宣部的首肯。
估计以后不会再有疯狂的石头这类的作品,全要去歌颂三个代表,8r8c去了,不然不给资助

cccp:
“In light of several years of films with themes receiving nobody's acclaim, this director points out, the neglecting of such important ideals as ‘building a harmonious society’ and ‘the three represents’ is the source of the problem. Domestic films must not simply seek large-scale investment and production, but work hard to raise political awareness and to increase the works’ political content, ideology and character.”
I guess that means no more movies like Crazy Stone. From now on they'll all be extolling Three Represents or Eight Honours and Eight Shames, or else they won't get funding.

李大爷
既赢得广电总局的首肯,又赢得中宣部的首肯
_______________________________________
那还是电影么?

Grandpa Li:
“But they need to gain approval from SARFT and the Central Propaganda Department”
Would that still then be called a movie?

正常人
资助,可以不接受吗…

Normal Person
Funding, can they not accept it?

三套
靠。看来是被贾葭忽悠了。
但我想”心花社”是出于愤怒而恶搞吧。
我不认为广电总局的资助有利于艺术创作,导演要是拿了这笔钱的话,就等着被阉割吧。
要是广电总局主动把钱送上门,有导演敢不要么?不要的话,片子审查会不会碰到麻烦?
我操!我也有点愤怒了。

Channel 3
Shit. Looks like Jajia's pulling our leg.
But I think Xinhua is being spoofed out of anger.
I don't think SARFT's funding can help artistic creations. If directors take this money, they'll essentially be castrated.
If SARFT actively drops off the money, will any directors dare refuse it? If they do, will their films have trouble getting past the censors?

neo633
文艺招安。

neo633
The artists have been reined in.

X file
what a fucking shit director, why does nobody refuse?

X file
what a f***ing shit director, why does nobody refuse?

乱马
可以啊。把主旋律电影拍的好看老百姓一样捧场。可惜一向只能当催吐药。国家又拿纳税人的钱制往里砸,制造一堆垃圾。

Luan Ma
Sure…if they shoot an ‘arranged’ movie and shoot it well, people will praise it all the same. Unfortunately, such a movie will only be ever cause disgust. Once again The State has taken people's money and created a pile of garbage.

kamo
不要资助……..别老禁播就可以了
全球都看…中国就不能看…………

kamo
Keep the funding. Just stop banning things all the time.
The whole world's watching, only China can't watch…

深蓝213
要努力提高政治觉悟,提升作品的政治内涵和思想品格。要争取既赢得广电总局的首肯,又赢得中宣部的首肯。
————————————–
我呸~
拿人手短,吃人嘴软。
同上!

Deep Blue 213
“…work hard to raise political awareness and to increase the works’ political content, ideology and character…”
“But they need to gain approval from SARFT and the Central Propaganda Department.”
Boo!
If you accept someone's help, you have to do what they say!
I agree with the above comment!

罗逼小浩浩
没资助,喊不受重视,受打压。
有资助,喊被收买,被控制。
原来,他们不是他们,是人们嘴里的他们。
逼。

Luobi's Little Haohao
No funding and cries won't be recognized, will be shut down.
Take the funding and cries will be bought out, controlled.
It used to be that they weren't their own, but of the mouths of other people.
Shit.

guoguo
只是想把艺术家变成革命家,再把把革命家变为歌颂家。

guoguo
They just want to turn artists into revolutionaries, then turn revolutionaries into proselytizers.

Rick
自己编个新闻乐乐就被当成论据,有比这个更无聊的么?捕风捉影,上纲上线,整个搞得跟文化大革命似的。
满城尽是走资派……

Rick
Make a news sensation and end up being used to support an argument. Is there anything more inane than that? Speaking on hearsay, blowing things out of proportion, making it all seem like the Cultural Revolution.
Curse of the Capitalist Roaders……

yefu
皇上赐酒,谁敢不喝?

yefu
The emperor offers booze, who dares not drink?

小天天
资助,可以不接受吗…
—————————
可以,但估计小鞋可以穿到死==;

Little Tiantian
“Funding, can they not accept it?”
Sure, if they don't mind shining shoes til they die.

yy
资助接受了,就被控制管理了
真是无耻,拿别人的才华,做自己的嫁妆

yy
If they accept the funding, they'll be controlled and supervised.
So shameless, taking other people's talents for your own dowry.

江东牛人
谢主隆恩,吾皇万岁万岁万万岁

Jiangdong Cool Man
Thank the Emperor for his kindess. Long live long live long long live live my Emperor.

ppp
据悉,广电总局将派专人指导影片的剧本讨论,主题设定。
——–
真的吗?

ppp
“They say SARFT will appoint people to oversee script discussions and decide the subjects.”
Really?

JJ是自己的你管操谁?
本人愿意出钱资助青年导演有16人,包括陆川、王小帅、徐静蕾、贾樟柯、宁浩、宁才、乌兰塔娜、张扬等出国到海外拍摄中国的电影,任何狗逼重要思想都不能左右一个有理想的艺术家的创作和作品,任何服务于政D的艺术都不是艺术,在国外是政D选举的广告,在国内是垃圾。
贪污上亿元的官员也没有回头是岸的想法,一个50万就能改变一个艺术家的追求?就能收买一个正义人士?去死吧!

Your Dick's Your Own, F*** Who You Want
I'd put up the money to fund the 16 directors: Lu Chuan, Wang Xiaoshuai, Xu Jinglei, Jia Zhangke, Ning Hao, Ning Cai, Wulan Tana, Zhang Yang, to leave the country, go overseas and shoot Chinese movies. No dog-c*** important ideology can influence an idealistic artist's creations and works. Any art that serves a political party isn't art. In other countries that's called election advertising, in China it's called trash.
Officials corrupt into the hundreds of millions don't even worry about repenting and being saved, so can five hundred thousand yuan alter an artist's pursuits? Can it buy a righteous person? Go to hell!

charley
“广电总局将派专人指导影片的剧本讨论,主题设定。这一资助计划将成为一种制度,并会不断改进,以保证每年主旋律影片投拍。”
“要争取既赢得广电总局的首肯,又赢得中宣部的首肯。”
在这样的资助下,还能拍出好电影吗???!!!

charley
“They say SARFT will appoint people to oversee script discussions and decide the subjects. This funding plan is expected to become a sort of ongoing system, which will ensure annual investment in themed films.”
“But they need to gain approval from SARFT and the Central Propaganda Department.”
With this kind of funding, will they still be able to shoot good movies???!!!

8 comments

  • hi john, nice work with tranlating, very creative explicatives in chinese…i wonder about the visual effect such word have on someone…

    but the real issue for me is the question fo the size and scale of china — perhaps there is a need to keep peope togethjer thru cinema…just think of the impact of civil strife in china…i just throw this out us devil’s advocate…

  • Mary

    Informative and great, but one would wish your great pieces to go deeper. I just read a great book: China and the new world order, by the highly provocative Chinese journalist george zhibin gu, which offers huge insights on current China and global affairs.

  • mahathir_fan

    that’s good for a change. not just new directors are good, but new actresses for a change. oh and new actors. sorry for the freudian slip. i guess that’s what I pay attention at.

  • @Jordan:
    Do you think I should have left the f-words (or c-words) as they were? Very civilized discussion, obviously. But the reason I think these bloggers are so angry and vitriolic is that most of those directors have put out some really good, really dogma-free movies over the past few years and are the representatives of the latest push of an independent streak in Chinese film. Widely-criticized movies put out by big-name OYG directors like Chen Kaige, Zhang Yimou and Feng Xiaogang over the past few years have only won the younger generation more support. Though all movies have had to be approved officially, now the younger generation has to film them with the theme and stance already decided for them, or else they won’t be approved.

    @Mary:
    You’re right, this is a pretty stringy post. Can I blame the earthquake? Thanks for the book tip, will definitely look for it next time I go to Hong Kong.

    @mahathir_fan:
    You’ve seen right through me! I do have a preference for indie and alternative voices, and I think they deserve an uncontrolled space in society to do their work. Sometimes I get tired and cranky and start writing off Chinese actors and directors as just voices for the state, although I know neither they or the system is that simple. One thing I’ve been trying to wrap my head around lately is that in China so many extremely talented people end up in strange (to me) places like police army, navy, and air force dancing, singing and acting troupes. I can see how only being able to find work in companies like those would put a definite limit on the types of performance you could do, and I do often judge them on what I see. But as performing arts students, they must have had different, much broader passions, no? I always use the movie Lan Yu as an example. As if having queer characters portrayed by (straight) mainstream actors wasn’t groundbreaking enough for China in 2001, including male nudity, it even dealt directly with what happened in Tia-na-nmen in June, 1989. I think the fact that a movie like this could be made in China is pretty telling, but I wonder if it could be made under these new conditions for movie funding and approval…

  • GiaGia

    “Channel 3
    Shit. Looks like Jajia’s pulling our leg.
    But I think Xinhua is being spoofed out of anger.

    Obviously the funding story was not real news. just fake news for fun/for expression of anger.

  • Catherine

    Hi,John.I am a Chinese student in Guangdong.I have learned your name and your story on a local newspaper and read some of your works online.
    I have met quiet a few foreigners before and found that most of them know nothing about China.Your work interseted me quite a lot
    and I also wanna do something to connect China with the world.I got 29 scores in the TOEFL writing(the full mark of writing is 30),so I think I can translate Chinese articles into English and write English comments.Can I do that?Also,could you please give me some directions about how to do that?

    Also, are you still in Guangzhou?If you are in Guangzhou this February, I hope I can visit you and have some conversation with you.Some of your views and ideas impressed me very much. Now I am working on some essays about Chinese politics and I wanna hear your ideas.I guess it’s a little rude and too straight -forward to write you such a letter, but that’s the only way I can get contact with you.SO,hope you forgive my rudeness.

  • GiaGia

    Ok, seriously, John talked to me and we discuss the news original source and found out that:
    1, it’s the fact that there existing a funding for the directors.
    2, The version on which John worked on for translation is not the original one, but a modified and re-edited one by a certain bloger. The whole meaning could be misleading. Probably the re-editer didn’t mean to mislead people, but just for fun or expression of his own idea, but it did misled some people, including those Chinese replied to the text,and unfortunately, my dear John. (Sorry, John, I should have told you earlier and more seriouslier)
    3, Even for Chinese, it’s not easy to distinguish, but I still hope John could come to explain about the difference between the original version and the re-edited one
    4. I said it’s a fake news. I think I used an inpropriate word. at least the fact of funding was true. in Chinese we call it “e gao”(恶搞)but I don’t know the exact translation in English of this word. For example, if you saw a picture of Monalisa with beard, that could be regarded as a “e gao”

  • Thanks to GiaGia’s careful eye, I now see that the Bullog post is a clever e’gao (parody) of the original news report. The directors are in fact being offered funding by SARFT, but the comments above are in response to Bullog writer Jajia’s carefully-written and creative re-interpretation of the news. It illustrates her/his belief that the broadcasting authority’s move to fund their future films will have a significant and long-term impact on the works the directors produce.

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