National Day is one the biggest national holidays in China and it symbolizes the country's nationhood and national pride. The first National Day took place in 1949, where leader Mao declared the creation of People’s Republic of China. In China, one of the ways to celebrate National Day is having an elaborate parade every 10 years. Through the parade, people can see the history of drastic change not only in the military but also in Chinese society.
China has made great progress in the past few decades, and it’s becoming more modern and more people are willing to travel and work in China because of the beautiful landscape and the rapid economic growth.
We can definitely see the modern China in the movie The Nightingale, where people can see what the relationship is like between three separate generations, and how they all experience the rapid growth in China. The culture in China has changed tremendously in the past decades, where values are different for each generation.
One the of the reasons that China chose to submit The Nightingale for consideration for the 2015 Academy Awards is perhaps that the film shows how the changes in China have affected the old and young and how these three generations overcome their generation gap and embrace the modern China.
Lanterns will light up the night, and delicious moon cakes will be enjoyed this weekend to celebrate China’s second most important day on the Chinese lunar calendar, The Moon festival.
China’s Moon festival, or Mid-Autumn Festival, is a Chinese tradition that has been traced back as early as 1046 B.C., and is a public holiday practiced throughout China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and other neighboring countries. Celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month on the Chinese lunar calendar, this year, the Moon Festival falls on September 27th, and for the first time in over 30 years, it falls on a day where there will also be a supermoon and a total lunar eclipse.
The Moon festival is a day of giving thanks for the Chinese people. Family and friends gather together and give thanks to the moon for harvest and pray for good fortune. In China, many believe the moon symbolizes harmony and utility. Some traditions include lantern lighting, dragon and lion dragon dancing, and exchanging of moon cakes. Moon Cakes are round, which represent the moon, and symbolize the reunion of a family. Moon cakes are presented to friends and family to demonstrate best wishes and good fortune.
Family values are important in the Chinese culture, so it was no surprise that China’s selection for the 2015 Academy Awards was the film, “The Nightingale.” A film that captivates the reality of the Chinese people. “The Nightingale” takes viewers on a journey that begins in modern day China, and leads the audience through the beautiful landscapes and hidden villages in the rural parts of China, all while telling the story of a grandfather teaching his granddaughter the importance of family traditions.
“The Nightingale” is set to release in select US theaters on November 6th.
The exhibition of Chinese films in the US has not always been as common as it has become in the recent years. Cold War politics forced the two nations into an unfriendly embargo, so that the exhibition of Chinese films on US soil was non-existent. The cease of almost all artistic creation during the “cultural revolution” left China without a film industry for many years. Without a cinema to represent it in a global stage, this vast nation became an enigma to the international film community. This much was true, until China reopened their film schools, and gave students the opportunity to have their films be exhibited internationally.
The first group of film students who worked to reintroduce Chinese cinema to the world was dubbed the “fifth generation.” Their films gathered international interest, not only because they unveiled the style and point of view of inland Chinese cinema, but also because their films were of high artistic value. A certain dogma of Chinese cinema since its reintroduction to the world was unveiled with the film Yellow Earth. That film exclaims an artistic style through slow scroll-like camera tilts that embody the earth as a character that is in control of the tragic ambiance and the poverty stricken characters that live on that land. This film, along with a few others, had the opportunity to be shown in various prestigious international film festivals during the 1980’s, and with it came the exponential regrowth of the Chinese film industry.
Today, the Chinese film industry is one of the world’s largest in terms of number of pictures made. At the same time, China continues to maintain a high artistic pedigree in their productions. This is evident in one of China’s contributions to the Academy Awards: The Nightingale (to be distributed by World Wide Motion Picture Corporation). This picture is a heartfelt story about an old man traveling through rural China with a pet bird nightingale and his young granddaughter. The Nightingale emphasizes certain themes evident in contemporary transnational cinema regarding culture. In a world interconnected with the immediacy of technology — as emphasized by the young tech-savvy granddaughter in the film— Chinese culture is almost non-existent in the big cities, but it is rediscovered in the countryside. With that said, technology and the commodities brought by economic growth, have lessened the warmth and communication in families, which is seen in the transformation of Ren Xing (the grandaughter) as the journey develops.
A Chinese-French co-production, evidently falling under the transnational category — a trait it shares with a lot of international cinemas — The Nightingale also follows suit of now sixth-generation Chinese cinema — pictures such as The World, or In The Mood For Love. Like many films around the world, The Nightingale embodies a universality that makes it a film that can be understood, no matter the nationality of the audience watching it.