Last night, eight of us went to jishuitan, an area a little northeast of Jiaoda, to watch The Shop Around the Corner on the rooftop of Club Obiwan (check my entry “A Good Weekend” to hear more about the spot).
We got there pretty early because we thought every student around would want to see a movie from 1940, but only a few more people ended up joining us.
Though only expats/students attended, the film had Chinese subtitles, which made the movie even more fun to watch, as most of us could read a lot of the characters. The translations didn’t do the movie justice. For instance, when Klara sees the necklace that Alfred secretly plans on giving to her, she is utterly taken aback. Per the Chinese translation, however, Klara just says, “Pretty (mei hao).” It was hysterical.
On the topic of film, I am really interested to see a film coming up about Tiananmen Square. A few of us are interested in the depiction, and I’ll be sure to write about it when I see it.
In response to a comment about film, art, and literature in Beijing, I will say that contemporary art has risen in popularity since the 1970s and is widely displayed in art galleries around Beijing. Film, on the other hand, is perhaps stifled a bit more, as no film is able to be in wide release unless it is approved by the government. Evan Osnos, from the New Yorker, has written extensively about this in an article on Jia Zhangke, a famous auteur here who is gigantic in the independent world and has just sold out (a bit) by making a Kung Fu movie. I suggest that you google Jia Zhangke rather than look for the article, as it is not available for non-subscribers.
Literature, my discipline of choice, I do not know much about. Part of the reason that I am in China is to learn more about the literary scene and the authors that are big here. I haven’t really started my research on this yet, but I have begun perusing small bookstores and large ones for information. I also plan on meeting with a professor or two at Beijing Language and Culture University and Peking University, the two most famous schools in China for the humanities.
Going back to The Shop Around the Corner, I forgot to mention that I didn’t know that You’ve Got Mail is a re-make (of sorts) of this movie. If you’ve never seen either film, I suggest you set aside a few hours, because the movies are both really cute!
I’m off to teach a swim lesson now – hopefully I won’t get sick again from the water. Did I mention my sniffles/diarrhea bout earlier this week? I’m okay now, just trying to purell as much as possible.