In this case, the filmmaker is Mr. Weng. Weng has directed some of the most famous movies ever made in China — “One Hundred Years War,” “Journey to the West,” “Jinan,” and many others. He also has a few short movies under his belt and a number of feature films — “The Great Beauty,” “The Big Fish” — on the way, all of which deal with the relationship between the people and the government, and the Chinese culture it is based on. The first film, “Jinan,” is now available in China and will enter theaters in China in 2014.
Mr. Weng says he did not set out to make a documentary; he only wanted to show China in a new way, in a more modern way.” I wanted to show the state and the world in contrast,” he says. “I wanted it to be more realistic.”
As a filmmaker in China, which has no freedom of speech, Mr. Weng says his role was primarily to tell stories in a style often lacking in the region, and to share China’s cultural history. “In the West, we still speak of the Middle Ages and a time when people were starving and working in iron mines and in the fields,” said Mr. Weng. “But in China, today, we have more freedom than ever to tell our story.”
Mr. Weng’s father died shortly before the film’s screening. The film was shot in Beijing during the 1989 pro-democracy student movement during which the student leader Zhao Ziyang was arrested and executed. Mr. Weng said he did not know how his father died and so was hesitant to talk or to make comments about what happened to him and his family. But his father is still a source of inspiration for him even for something as serious as his own filmmaking.
“My father is still a person who taught me that it was wrong to give up. In my own family, it is still something we believe in,” Mr. Weng said. “I believe this. He always believed in my mother. He never wanted any of his children to marry or have families. His wife’s children were not happy when they learned that their father had died at the young age of 49. One of them said to me: “Why were you married?” I didn’t know why he wanted to marry, but it still hurts me to think that I let this happen. They were afraid of his authority. I believe
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