A Double Bill:
Cell Phone (2003)
Feng favorite Ge You headlines this “painfully funny sendup of male mores, China’s middle-class aspirations and emerging obsession with technology – all set in the world of TV executives.” (Patrick Frater, Variety). Ge plays TV talkshow host Yan whose life is upended one day when he leaves his cellphone at home. Suddenly the ringing “handset” (as mobile phones are known in Chinese) becomes a “hand grenade” – as Yan’s producer pal in the film puns – blowing the cover off the TV host’s habit of extramarital dalliances. A phenomenal success at the box office, Cell Phone provoked debate in China about the disruptive power of technology, and cemented Feng’s reputation as the socially-incisive director with the Midas touch.
From the opening minutes when the camera lands smack in the middle of a pitched battle between the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and Nationalist soldiers, Assembly announces it is no conventional Mainland war movie. Instead this grunts-eye view of war with no heroes and the aftermath of war with no victory follows a PLA captain, played with ferocious intensity by Zhang Hanyu, who faces sequential punishment from faceless higher-ups – first in the Chinese Civil War against the Nationalists, then in the Korean War against the Americans – for fighting to the last man on the battlefield. The British Film Institute noted in its praise of Assembly: “Before this film Feng was known for his genius in provoking laughter from the audience; after this film, he has become recognised for his ability to provoke tears.”
A Tribute to Feng Xiaogang
This screening is part of program honoring the artistic achievements of China’s leading popular filmmaker. The Tribute features a selection of Feng's acclaimed works--Cell Phone (2003) and Assembly (2007) on Oct. 24, Aftershock (2010) on Oct. 25, and I Am Not Madame Bovary (2016) on Oct. 30--culminating with the U.S. Premiere of Youth (2017) on Nov. 3, with a Q&A with the director.
For more information, visit chinaonscreen.org.
A Tribute to Feng Xiaogang is a program in China Onscreen’s ongoing Dunhuang Projected series.
This screening is hosted by
This screening is free and open to the public.
Hourly parking is available in Lot 3 on the northeast corner of the UCLA campus, near the intersection of Sunset Blvd. and Hilgard Ave.
UCLA James Bridges Theater, 235 Charles E Young Dr N, Los Angeles, CA 90095