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FROZEN (Jidu Hanleng)

A film by Wu Ming (Wang Xiaoshuai)

China 1997
Color, Mandarin w/eng st, 95 min

Cast: Jia Hongshen, Ma Xiaooquing, Bai Yu, Li Geng

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35mm film rental: $250 | 16mm film rental: $200
VHS/DVD rental: $100 | VHS/DVD purchase: $150
 

One of the first internationally distributed films by a Sixth Generation filmmaker, FROZEN is unique for providing a rare look at the avant-garde art world of Beijing. Suicide is staged as a work of art by a daring young performance artist, played by Jia Hongshen, who also played himself in the autobiographical film Quitting, by Zhang Yang. On the longest day of the year, the artist plans to melt a huge block of ice with his body and die of hypothermia in an act of protest against the coldness of society. The story is only partly fictitious according to the filmmaker, who worked under the pseudonym Wu Ming – or No Name – to protect himself from the Chinese authorities. The film was shot in 1994 and smuggled out of the country for completion in Europe. Wang Xiaoshuai is also the director of Beijing Bicycle.

“A stunning, spare and demanding film that takes us into the world of Beijing’s avant-garde. Wu is too subtle, too evocative a filmmaker to come up with easy answers, but by the time 90 minutes have passed, he has left us with an understanding of why a young artist would seek death. An amazing film.” – Kevin Thomas, LA TIMES

“A cruelly ironic, utterly compelling meditation on exploitation, the disenchantment of a generation, and the isolation of the artist.” – Geoff Andrew, TIME OUT

 

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