Actors struggle with mixed martial arts choreography. By Kyle Mullin for The Beijinger, January 2012
It’s never easy to charm your in-laws, but imagine having to woo and subdue them with kung fu dance moves. This is the fate that befalls one man in Jump, the comic martial arts performance that reimagines a traditional Korean story – about a boy courting an entire family to win their daughter’s hand – with the help of thumping music, peppy fighting and manic break-dancing. These fast-paced elements take the place of dialogue, making the show fit for audiences of all languages and backgrounds.
“It is really hard to act without lines,” says Sung- Yul Noh, who stars as the son-in-law. “Instead, I think the words in my mind while performing, so others can feel my expressions through the gestures.”
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Mongolian garage rockers struggle to straddle cultural differences. By Kyle Mullin for Beijing’s City Weekend Magazine, Jan. 12 2012
Mongolia conjurers up very specific images for outsiders: grass lands, open plains, harsh winds and weathered horseback riders. But that’s not the place Enerelt, bassist for Mongol garage rockers Mohanik, calls home.
“Whether it’s the extreme weather or the air pollution, so many things are part of living in the (capital) Ulaanbaatar,” Enerelt says of his hometown, where he’s packing bags to leave for a Beijing gig at D-22 on Jan. 13. “We wouldn’t say it has been hard growing up there. If you hear our songs, you’ll definitely smell and taste some Mongolian flavors.”
Yet Mohanik’s flavours often seem awfully familiar for us expats. Instead of the rumbling throat singing featured in other Mongolian troupes like Hanggai, Mohanik’s signature song boasts a creaky box spring guitar riff that wouldn’t be out of place on an early punk hit performed by The Kinks. That strumming makes the song, dubbed Moritoi ch Boloosoi, instantly catchy.
But then guitarist and vocalist Tsogt breaks out the chorus…
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Beijing director straddles the space between farming and flight with surrealist film. By Kyle Mullin for The Beijinger, Jan. 12 2012
Most farmers tend to their fields, but this one takes to the skies.
In Qiao Liang’s Flying, the eccentric land laborer Liu Baigang abandons his roots in favor of the heavens after teaching himself how to build an airplane. The film soars atop this ridiculous premise and eventually lands on rural China’s quirky yearnings.
See the film at Culture Yard on Jan 13, where the director – a longtime local TV auteur and Beijing Film Academy (BFA) alumnus – will also be present for a Q+A. But for now, please keep your seatbelt fastened and your tray in the upright position. This is your captain speaking, and Qiao Liang will now take our questions.
What inspired you to make a film about a farmer flying?
It was the screenplay writer’s idea initially. And to be honest, the first time I saw it, I rejected this script. I didn’t think it made sense for a farmer to make a plane. But after researching online I found there are actually many people trying to make planes themselves. It was then that I started to consider this story regardless of the absurdity, and saw the idealism in it.
But Liu’s situation is far from ideal – his neighbors have always called him a lunatic, and the bullying only gets worse when he tries to build an airplane.
People are judgmental, especially in the countryside. They think someone is insane as long as they’re different. Many people are stressed out from this and choose a job they don’t like or marry someone they don’t have true feelings for. They’ll often take comfort in thinking, “Everyone is doing the same thing, so why don’t I?”
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