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Cultural Imperialism; Fried Chicken Takes Over China
Ellen’s at Night, Shepherd’s Delight?
Importing la Vie Française to Nanjing
The Love Story of a Chinese Century: Sanmao and Hexi
Cultural Imperialism; Fried Chicken Takes Over China Fried chicken and beer is now all the rage in China; and it’s all because of the Koreans. Admittedly, both the food and the beverage have been around for a while. However, pairing the two during meetings with friends is now the in-thing to do after a South Korean TV drama has created an unprecedented craze about the combo that is now entering into Chinese mainstream culture. Read the Full Story
Ellen’s at Night, Shepherd’s Delight? Ellen’s at night is one of those infamous places many tend to steer clear of, but what about Ellen’s by day? It felt strange disembarking walking into a place that looked more like a ‘pirates cove’ than a bar/restaurant; in tune with its reputation for the rough and rowdy after 10 pm. Read the Full Story
Importing la Vie Française to Nanjing Nine years ago Hu Ya opened up the first French restaurant in Nanjing; now the owner of one of Nanjing’s most longstanding establishments is venturing into the bar scene. On the checklist of foreign cuisine in Nanjing Les 5 Sens is undoubtedly a top contender. Opened in 2005 by two Chinese ladies and a French chef it has been a steady success. Read the Full Story
The Love Story of a Chinese Century: Sanmao and Hexi Hardly a Nanjinger does not know the tragic love story of Sanmao and Hexi. The Chinese writer, who partly grew up in Nanjing, would have been 71 this month. Local students are currently bringing her story to the stage.  Read the Full Story

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Nanjing animator makes global impact

Liu Jian's animated feature  Piercing I was the first ever in China chosen to show at 5 major European film festivals (2009-2010). At present, he is listening to distribution offers, producing new films and chilling out with the Drug Art crew

Liu Jian graduated from the Nanjing Arts Institute and then went off to work for an animation company. "One day, I talked to my wife about the idea of making an animation film. With her permission, we sold our apartment, relied on our savings and we also got help from our relatives. The whole combination of money needed to produce the film was USD $100,000."

For three years, he drew animation frames on a WACOM graphic tablet. One second of footage requires 24 frames. One year ago, the film gained noteriety overseas and gained much critical acclaim.

After showing at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival in France, critic Thierry Meranger wrote (translated from French): "The real surprise in competition comes from China. Not from the Shanghai school telling stories of monks and monkeys... but from a perfect unknown called Liu Jian. Dry and without concessions, his first feature film Piercing I is a vivid sign of Chinese animation's return."

Over the past year, Liu Jian and his film have enjoyed an excellent adventure: 

Plot synopsis

Zhang Xiaojun came from a poor rural area to the big city. He put himself through university and found a job in a shoe factory. 

In 2008, the financial crisis forced the closure of many factories. Zhang Xiaojun lost his job. One day, a supermarket guard beats him up, mistaking him for a thief.

In vain, he asks the supermarket manager for financial redress – his dearest wish is to return to his village to resume a simple farming life. 

Right before his departure, the police arrest him. The supermarket manager also has his problems.

On a moonlit night, the storylines converge in a teahouse near the city rampart.

Speaking with the producer

The other night, Frantastic and I met up with Liu Jian at the Drug Art Museum to learn more about the film.  

HN: What is the significance of the title of the film?

Liu Jian: In English it's called Piercing 1, in Chinese it's called Piercing Me. It's the first of an intended trilogy. 

HN: What was it that you wanted to express in the film?

Liu Jian: People are always influenced by their environment, and everyone, at some point will experience a 'piercing' – either physical or spiritual – from a clash or confrontation. I wanted to express a heart-breaking feeling, like slowly getting pierced. 

HN: It sounds deep.

Liu Jian: Well, it's a sad story. It's not a story that just scrapes the surface, it explores the things that really drive people to make certain decisions.

HN: Is the story set in Nanjing?

Liu Jian: No, it's not set in any particular place, but it's got a feeling of south China. However, all of the drawings were based on my Nanjing impressions. 

HN: You spent three years making this?

Liu Jian: Yes, I mainly worked alone. First I wrote the story, then I drew each frame – tens of thousands of frames. Most of the time, it was the support of my wife thet kept me motivated, and kept me sane. 

HN: Where can people get a copy of the film?

Liu Jian: It's not out yet, we are considering different distribution options. 

HN: How's it going?

Liu Jian: Right now my wife is handling all of the business things, but I hope for an effective distribution company to take over soon. I hope to have everything in place for the China Independent Film Festival, which happens in October. In the best case scenario, I'm hoping to make back the money that was put into producing the film.

HN: How has the government responded to the film?

Liu Jian: I've gotten a mixed reaction. The film deals with a lot of negative aspects of life. Even though these aren't China-specific, government censors are always sensitive.

It seems that they're happy that a Chinese film is gaining international acclaim, but at the same time, with the negative themes in the movie... right now they're not doing anything to block the film, but they're not doing anything to promote it, either.

HN: What's coming up in the future?

Liu Jian: I have a film showing at a Dutch cultural event in Shanghai and another one soon after in Beijing. Then I hope to finalize a distribution deal, and launch the film in time for the China Independent Film Festival. Plus I'm working on a couple of other films.

HN: Thanks very much for your time. Any chance of a public sneak preview of the film?

Liu Jian: Let's talk. Everything is possible. For more information about the film (trailer, reviews, press) or to contact Liu Jian, check out Le-Joy.net.
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Comments (7)

  • very impressive guy I must say, one of the view that follows his dreams and risks everything.

    0 Like
  • Agreed, he took a shot and made it, it's a great story.

    On another topic, here is the link to the China Independent Film Festival:

    http://www.chinaiff.org/html/EN/


    Some info:
    [quote]The Chinese Independent Film Festival was founded in 2003. It is located in elegantly livable, gracious Nanjing, one of China

    0 Like
  • I checked the trailer, it looks interesting.

    0 Like
  • "we sold our apartment, relied on our savings and we also got help from our relatives. The whole combination of money needed to produce the film was USD $100,000.""

    ... holy shit ... does he hope to get that money back? I mean we all know how film distribution works in China...:o

    0 Like
  • I haven't seen it but the whole plot seems pretty weak. The whole; 'move from a poor village to a big city,get a job,financial crisis,lose job,get beaten up and just want a peaceful life on the farm' is lame.
    I'm not surprised it has garnered acclaim from around the world though as the West jumps on anything negative about China.
    I can see why the film hasn't been jumped on by distributors.

    0 Like
  • Guest (a guest)

    Permalink

    now this is someting worth ( and yeah i mean ting )talking about. All you blah de blahs go try to do it your self before you criticize. man oh barry manilow man >>>>> what does it take to make you sorry asses happy

    0 Like
  • Guest (a guest)

    Permalink

    I do have seen the film, at the premiere in the Netherlands. There were very few people, as the film had little media attention. Initially we wanted to see Coraline, which is very well known, but that was sold out. We decided to see Piercing. I tell you; this is one of the best films ever! The plot is complicated, very ingenious, and also very moving and there also humour. The way mr Jian criticises the corrupt establisment, including the police, is VERY BRAVE! Mr Jian was in the cinema, and I have thanked him in person for this great achievement. I hope that all his effort will be recognized by a larger crowd. He deserves it.

    0 Like

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