01 Jan / Memoirs from the Beijing Film Academy: The Genesis of China’s Fifth Generation by Ni Zhen, translated by Chris Berry [in AsianWeek]
A thoroughly enjoyable combination of memoir entwined with film, social, and political history by a professor from the prestigious Beijing Film Academy, which graduated the 1982 class known as the Fifth Generation. While the two most famous representatives are Chen Kaige and Zhang Yimou, Professor Ni – who was both their teacher and their screenwriter – gives a much fuller view of the 153 classmates. He adds, “Fifth generation cinemas was not just men’s business,” making reference to several, successful women makers. On a sadder note, Ni unnecessarily apologizes that the latter three chapters in his Memoirs are not as strong as the first, tragically because he was nursing his late wife through her final days.