Friday, November 15, 2013

Wise Words

Amidst the rather forced glamour of a press conference for a Chinese film festival to be held in London next month, I met the 71-year-old director Xie Fei. What a nice chap, wise yet modest, outspoken yet gentle, excellent English. He's what is known as a Fourth Generation director having graduated from Beijing Film Academy in the 60s but because of the turmoil which followed didn't make his first film until 1986. (The more famous Fifth Generation, including Zhang Yimou, Chen Kaige etc then picked up the baton). He has made several films over the past 25 years, the best known being Black Snow (1989) and Woman Sesame Oil Maker (1993), which won - respectively - the Silver and Gold Bears at Berlin Film Festival. He's now a professor at BFA.
I asked him what he thought about the boom in the number of cinemas opening in China, the huge ambitions of the film industry, the big new studios opening. "It's not about that", he replied, "It's about the films".

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