Weekly Roundup – Jia’s nonfiction forays, Yi Yi’s enduring appeal, and The Linda Lindas’ revenge

Your weekly one-stop-shop for film news, interviews, articles, and videos from the week that was.

With our Asian Heritage Month programming drawing to a close, it seems a fine occasion to share two HyperAllergic pieces delving into Jia Zhangke’s documentary work. (The winner of the Dragons & Tigers award at VIFF 1998, Jia was also the subject of a retrospective at our VIFF Centre in 2019.) Ryan Swen appraises Jia’s nonfiction oeuvre, while Jordan Cronk interviews the esteemed filmmaker about Swimming Out Till The Sea Turns Blue, his latest feature and the third part of his “Artists Trilogy”. As Jia recounts, “It wasn’t until recently that I started to think again about the third instalment. For the past few years, I’ve been going back and forth between Beijing and Jia Family Village [Note: no relation to the director], and while I was there, I noticed that they are facing many issues — and not uniquely Chinese issues, but global issues in terms of the younger generations leaving rural areas for urban settings.”

Meanwhile, Criterion’s Bryan Washington reflects on his relationship with Edward Yang’s masterpiece, Yi Yi, and the key moments in his life in which he’s revisited the film. Reflecting on his first encounter, he shares, “Writing about the movie, Yang noted that ‘the film is simply about life, portrayed across a spectrum of its span.’ And that’s precisely what I took from my first viewing: A man’s reunion with a former lover, depicted alongside his daughter’s own first big romance. Arguments overheard from a window overlooking the cityscape. The blinking of a train light as a couple heads toward their undoing. I hadn’t seen these things in my own life—couldn’t even have conceived of them, frankly—but, if nothing else, I knew that Yi Yi was something I’d return to. This was an assortment of lives, entirely distant from mine, that I knew I’d need to visit again.”

Finally: Taking their name from Nobuhiro Yamashita’s film Linda Linda Linda (VIFF 2005) and their motivation from the anti-Asian discrimination endured by their 10-year-old drummer, The Linda Lindas took Twitter by storm this week, amassing more than four million views of their raging performance of “Racist, Sexist Boy”.

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