Freeheld stumbles over too many hurdles to recommend it. The film’s heart is in the right place, but its focus is not.
It may be surprising for you to learn that in a country with more than one billion people, the fastest growing film industry in the world, and a 10 billion rmb (1.5 billion usd) box office gross in 2010 alone, there is hardly any professional film criticism accessible to its public.When I say hardly any, I mean that there is an absence of professional film critics who work for major, national publications and media outlets, and thus a lack of regular film reviews of new Chinese movies, at least for the mass audiences. Sure, there are some academic and/or bureaucratic film publications that are read by few, and others that are commercially centered whose readership is small and reserved. The majority of active, up-to-date film criticism in China today comes from blogs and websites started by film lovers.
• Grace Wang of TorontoChinese documentary films are important because they reflect, from the closest distance possible, in the most direct way possible, the rapid social, political, and cultural changes happening in China right now.
• Grace Wang of Toronto Running concurrently with the Hong Kong Internatiomal Film Festival is FILMART, an industry film event that attracts buyers, sellers, producers, filmmakers, promoters, journalists, and all kinds of film people. This is a side of cinema not as visible to the public, but just as important. Here the new blockbusters and indie sweethearts of next year are seeded and funded.
• Grace Wang of TorontoIt's my last day in Hong Kong and I'm spending it indoors - specifically - at a Starbucks in Kowloon Station across from the cross-border bus terminal, of which I'm booked to get on a bus in 3 hours back to Mainland China.
Across from me in the cushy tan sofa, a woman is dozing over an English newspaper. The headlines reads "EU summit puts off the tough decisions"... Hmm, not exactly light Sunday afternoon readings (or is it Saturday? I lose count). She has long curly dark brown hair that is half-dry and is dressed fashionably in jeans and a black leather jacket. She looked a little anxious when asking whether the seat was taken, and a little taken aback when I blurted out "no" in English (caffeine hasn't quite sank in then yet). Is the newspaper part of an effort to brush up on her English? I wonder. Did she have a rough night? Is she waiting for someone?
I'm sitting on a plane that is about to take off for Hong Kong. Looking out on the tarmac at Beijing, I can't quite believe my first two weeks here are already over, and Hong Kong International Film Festival is just around the corner.
The past week has been a whirlwind of food, work and discovery, not always in that particular order, but always an interesting combination of sorts.
Let's start with my favorite indulgence while traveling: Food. Fresh food, persevered food, homemade food, street vendors food, gourmet food... you name it, I love it. Gastronomic adventure is, in my opinion, one of the greatest pleasures in life, and I've never shied away from its waters. I don't just dip my toes, I jump in headfirst and splash around like a five year old.
First of a series as our Far-Flung Correspondent returns to her birthplace - RE• Grace Wang of Toronto
I've always thought about coming home.
As a person of Chinese descent, I was born and raised on this yellow earth until my early teens. It was my home, my roots, my place.
Then, one day, that place shifted... across the ocean to another continent, to a place called Canada, and along I went. In a strange country where everything was bewilderingly new, where even the light seemed different (less pollution, probably), I had to learn to be who I was all over again. I loved books, and suddenly I couldn't read. I loved writing, and suddenly I couldn't write. Well, not in a way that was understood to be the norm anyway. To a kid, there was no more important thing in the whole, wide world.