Pomona College and the Pomona College Media Guild are delighted to welcome pioneering underground film director Cui Zi’en to campus for a special screening. As part of the China Onscreen Biennial that is happening in the Los Angeles region, Cui joins us for a world premiere screening of his latest film Last Days.
Political and poetic, “Queer China Onscreen” presents two films, one by female documentarian and film festival organizer Yang Yang, the other by longtime Chinese queer film director Cui Zi’en. Yang’s film, made in collaboration with the Beijing Queer Film Festival Organization Committee, follows the peregrination of the Festival, unable across a decade to find a regular venue due to the homophobic cultural and political climate of the contemporary PRC. A winding atlas of Beijing alternative screening venues and a biography of the radicals who persist in that geography, Our Story is at once a document of the relentless pathologizing of sexual minorities in the contemporary PRC and a testament to the queer community’s adroit maneuvering against apathy and the dominant power … Boys, girls, queer desires, and fantastic topographies: the Chinese queer film pioneer, Cui Zi’en returns to his narrative and lyrical roots in Last Days. Cui weaves a surreal tale from the materiality of low-budget filmmaking, never forgetting film’s ability to visualize desire in ways both alluring and provocative. Li Jian’s lyrical camera provides strong support for Cui’s allegories of love, lust, and, transformation. Desire here too is a meandering movement between person, body, and gender, and it also coalesces also into bonding and community. Together, Yang and Cui suggest the diversity of approach in alternative Chinese queer filmmaking today.