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Pingyao Journal

China’s Newest Film Festival Tests the Limits of Independence

平遥日志

“中国特色”的尺度:平遥电影节测试审查底线

PINGYAO, China — It seemed odd to meet an aspiring director at a film festival who pleaded not to be quoted. He was afraid, he explained, after a discussion about cinema in China veered into censorship and how it affects filmmakers working here.

中国平遥——我在一个电影节上遇到了一位很有抱负的导演,他恳请我不要引用他的话,这似乎有些奇怪。在我们的讨论从中国电影业转向审查制度以及它对中国电影人的影响之后,他解释说,他有点儿害怕。

It is the question hovering over the weeklong festival that opened on Saturday in the ancient walled city of Pingyao: Can you create and showcase independent films in a country that frowns on independence, much less dissent?

这个电影节历时一周,于上周六在古墙环绕的城市平遥拉开帷幕,其间,一个问题挥之不去:在一个不赞成独立——更别提异见——的国家里,你还能创作和展映独立电影吗?

“There is a level,” said Sun Liang, another young director, whose experimental film “Kill the Shadow” played on Tuesday after having its international premiere in Montreal in September. “You don’t want to make something too violent or too inappropriate, to go over that level.”

“有一个程度,”另一位年轻导演孙亮说,“你不要做太暴力、太不合适的,不要超过程度。”孙亮执导的《疲城》于周二在电影节上展映,今年9月,这部电影在蒙特利尔做了全球首映。

It is “probably like this in every country,” he added.

“应该在每个国家一样吧,”他补充道。

Only it is not. China’s grip on culture is as tight as it is on the media, politics and the economy. And if anything, that grip has grown even tighter under President Xi Jinping, who used last month’s Communist Party congress in Beijing to anoint himself China’s most powerful leader in a generation.

但并非如此。中国对文化的控制同它对媒体、政治乃至经济的控制一样严格。而在习近平主席治下,这种控制变得愈发严格。他借助上月在北京召开的中共党代会,把自己塑造成一个世代里中国最有权力的领导人。

By accident of timing, the festival seems to have become an early test of what is acceptable in what is now being called the Xi era.

时间上的巧合让这次电影节成了一场早期测试,从中可以看出在现今的习近平时代,什么是可以接受的。

It is the brainchild of the country’s most celebrated independent filmmaker, Jia Zhangke, whose own work — gritty, violent, politically tinged — has fallen afoul of the censors before.

该电影节由中国最著名的独立电影导演贾樟柯发起,他本人的作品——真实、暴力、带有政治色彩——此前曾受到审查者的抵触。

He said he wanted to present artistic films that might otherwise struggle to reach a wide audience, at home and beyond. Mr. Jia called it the Pingyao Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon International Film Festival in homage to the 2000 martial-arts film by the director Ang Lee.

他说,他希望该电影节展映本来也许难以在国内外被更多观众看到的艺术电影,并给它取名为“平遥卧虎藏龙国际电影节”,以纪念李安导演2000年的那部功夫片。

Mr. Jia would like it to be China’s version of Sundance, America’s biggest independent film festival — though perhaps, as officials like to say here, one “with Chinese characteristics.”

贾樟柯希望它能成为美国最大独立电影节圣丹斯(Sundance)的中国版——或许应该是像这里的官员喜欢说的,要“有中国特色”。

It is impossible, to say the least, to imagine the governor’s office in Utah screening the films to be shown at the Sundance in Park City, though that is exactly what officials in Shanxi Province, where Pingyao is located, did for all 52 films shown here.

至少可以说,我们无法想象犹他州州长办公室会审查在帕克城举办的圣丹斯电影节的展映片目,而平遥所在省份山西省的官员,却审查了在平遥展映的52部影片。

Mr. Jia said independent filmmaking could still flourish in China, despite such restrictions. “Nearly 800 movies are made in China every year, among which there are many by talented young directors,” he said.

贾樟柯说,尽管受到这些限制,中国的独立电影还是有希望繁荣起来。“中国每年拍将近800部电影,其中有很多非常有天分的年轻导演。”

Directors and producers in attendance, even those who spoke frankly of the limits, agreed. There is, for now, still space for creativity, they said.

参加电影节的导演和制片人对此表示赞同,就连那些坦率谈及相关限制的人也没有异议。他们说,目前仍有创作空间。

Even so, it was also evident that the festival could not escape the gravitational pull of the country’s politics. It was originally scheduled to open a week earlier, but when the dates for the party congress were announced, only weeks before it began, the festival’s schedule had to shift accordingly.

不过有一点很明显,这个电影节无法摆脱中国政治的万有引力。它本应在之前一周开幕,但距离计划开幕日期只剩几周的时候,当局公布了中共党代会的会期,于是电影节的日程被相应地做了调整。

The film chosen for the festival’s opening, “Youth,” also became entangled in an unspoken rule of congress politics. Its nationwide release in October was abruptly canceled, even though a promotional tour had already begun. Many critics assumed the reason was that it depicted an event — China’s unsuccessful war in Vietnam in 1979 — that would have run against the congress’s message of national strength.

电影节开幕片《芳华》,也受困于一种与党代会有关的政治潜规则。这部原定于10月在全国上映的电影突然被撤档,尽管巡回推广活动已经开启。很多批评人士认为其原因在于《芳华》触及的事件——1979年中国在越南进行的一场不成功的战争——和大会要传递的关于国力如何强大的信息相抵触。

The delay was, naturally, the first question at the festival’s opening news conference, prompting an evasive answer from its producer, Ye Ning, the chief executive of Huayi Brothers Media. (Despite its premiere here, its national release remains unscheduled.)

在电影节开幕当天的新闻发布会上,这种推迟理所当然地成了记者最先抛出的问题,促使《芳华》出品方代表、华谊兄弟影业首席执行官叶宁给出了一个闪烁其词的答案。(尽管该片在这里首映,但全国公映的日期仍未确定。)

The festival’s artistic director, Marco Müller, then chided journalists to steer their questions to the film’s director, Feng Xiaogang, and two leading actresses. “Let’s emphasize the artistic aspects,” said Mr. Müller, an experienced organizer whose role in another inaugural festival, in the former Portuguese colony of Macau, ended with his abrupt resignation last year.

该电影节艺术总监马可·穆勒(Marco Müller)随即责怪了记者,并引导他们把话题转向该片的导演冯小刚和两位女主演。“让我们把重点放在艺术方面,”经验老道的组织者穆勒说。去年,他在另一个首次亮相的电影节中所扮演的角色,以他的突然辞职告终,那个电影节的举办地点是原葡萄牙殖民地澳门。

Agang Yargyi, a Tibetan filmmaker who traveled from the western province of Sichuan to attend, expressed admiration for Mr. Feng’s choice of a historical subject, calling it “very daring.”

从西部省份四川赶来参加电影节的藏族导演阿岗·雅尔基(Agang Yargyi)表达了对冯小刚选择这一历史题材的钦佩,说这“很勇敢”。

Mr. Agang, 27, has made three short films, including one, “Dream,” that played in film festivals in Finland and Washington. He described the challenges facing filmmakers, heightened in his case by his ethnic ties to a sometimes restive region. He cannot get a visa, for example, to accompany his films on the festival circuit.

27岁的阿岗·雅尔基拍过三部短片,其中包括曾在芬兰和华盛顿的电影节上展映的《给我一天来做梦》。他谈到了电影人面临的挑战,这种挑战对他格外巨大,因为他所属的民族是和一个时常陷入动荡的地区联系在一起的。例如,他会无法获得签证,导致当他的电影出现在一些电影节上的时候,他却无法到场。

“China is a country that doesn’t like to review its history,” he said.

“中国是一个不太喜欢重新审视自己的历史的国家,”他说。

And yet China’s troubled history is inescapable.

然而,纷纷扰扰的中国历史是无可回避的。

Pingyao’s historical center, a protected Unesco heritage site, dates back 2,700 years. Its 30-foot walls enclose evocative narrow streets and courtyards hidden behind worn wooden doors. Many structures have been neatly restored, catering to the millions of tourists drawn to one of China’s last unspoiled old cities.

有2700年历史的平遥古城作为联合国教科文组织(Unesco)指定的世界遗产受到保护。30英尺高的城墙内,有唤起往昔记忆的狭窄街道和隐藏在破旧木门后的庭院。作为中国最后几座未被破坏的古城之一,它的很多建筑被修缮得整整齐齐,以迎合慕名而来的数以百万计的游客。

Mr. Jia chose Pingyao because it is near his hometown; one of his films, “Platform,” takes place there and includes an encounter between two characters on the ramparts of the city’s walls. That film was about a theater troupe in the wake of the Cultural Revolution, which ravaged the country’s cultural elite.

贾樟柯之所以选择平遥,是因为这里离他的老家很近;他的电影《站台》曾在平遥取景,片中两个角色的一次会面就发生在城墙上。这部电影讲的是让中国文化精英惨遭蹂躏的文革结束后一个剧团的故事。

The only cinema in Pingyao’s old city, ironically, was a modern addition, built in 1965, just before the Communist leader Mao Zedong set the Cultural Revolution in motion. The cinema closed in 2003, but reopened last year as a museum. A red banner on the building declares, “Long Live Great Leader Chairman Mao.”

讽刺的是,平遥古城唯一一家电影院是在现代增添进去的,建于共产党领导人毛泽东发起文革前夕的1965年。影院已于2003年关门,但在去年作为博物馆重新开放。建筑上挂着红色条幅,上书“伟大的领袖毛主席万岁”。

The festival had the financial support of the regional government, which hopes to attract still more visitors.

当地政府为电影节提供了资金支持,希望能吸引更多游客。

Opening night drew more than 1,500 people, according to organizers. Fans pressed the barricades framing the red carpets to snap photographs of China’s biggest stars.

组织者称,电影节开幕夜吸引来了1500多人。粉丝们紧贴红毯周围的路障,抓拍中国的一线明星。

These included the actress Fan Bingbing, whose latest film, a patriotic action blockbuster called “Sky Hunter,” also played here. It was made in cooperation with the People’s Liberation Army, in keeping with a government-encouraged trend to extol the country’s might. Its addition certainly bent the definition of independent.

其中包括女演员范冰冰,她的最新作品、爱国主义动作大片《空天猎》也在这里展映。该片跟上了受到政府鼓励的宣扬国威的潮流,出品方之一是中国人民解放军下属机构。它的出现显然扭曲了独立的含义。

Such, it seems, are the compromises required to put on a festival. Its posters declare “Pingyao Year Zero,” signaling Mr. Jia’s hope that it will be long lived.

看起来,这是一个电影节必须做出的妥协。电影节海报上的“平遥元年”字样,代表着贾樟柯的希望——他希望这个电影节能长长久久地办下去。

Mr. Feng, the director of “Youth,” played down the questions swirling around the festival. Now 59, he saw the Cultural Revolution, and the headlong rush into capitalism that followed, and reminded younger filmmakers that things had once been worse.

《芳华》的导演冯小刚淡化了盘旋在电影节周遭的问题。59岁的他见证了文革,也见证了文革结束后中国一头扎进资本主义浪潮的情形,他提醒年轻的电影人,曾经有过更糟的情况。

“So many theaters were demolished, turned into saunas, foot baths or nightclubs,” he said. “Maybe every young director has some illusion that his circumstance is the most difficult, that he is the most unfortunate, but really, it’s not that way.”

“很多电影院都被改成了桑拿、足浴、夜总会,”他说。“可能每个年轻导演都有一种错觉,觉得自己所处的环境就是最不容易的,自己是最不幸的,其实不是。”

Then he made what sounded like a plea to persevere.

接着,他听起来像是在呼吁人们坚持下去。

“The young directors of today,” he said, “should not be beaten back by difficulties and setbacks.”

“青年导演不要轻易被挫折和困难打倒,”他说。

Olivia Mitchell Ryan自中国平遥、Zoe Mou自北京对本文有研究贡献。

欢迎在Twitter上关注本文作者Steven Lee Myers @stevenleemyers

翻译:纽约时报中文网

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