Studying Chinese (9) – Reading Sources / New Chinese Film Festival in Pingyao

Pingyao

This time it’s an atypical post, since we’ll not only talk about chinese language, but also about a little city in Shanxi Province : Pingyao (平遥 in mandarin chinese), the picture above was taken there. 

 

I – Reading in Chinese : an Annotated Collection Of Digitized Chinese Texts for Students of Chinese Language and Culture

Three years ago, I already pointed that reading is very important in your learning to make you progress. More than ever I believe it and I made a tremendous discovery last month, thanks to the Pleco team, once again. The University of Michigan is sharing this incredible page, where they gathered along the years a fantastic collection of free downloadable texts in mandarin chinese : http://www-personal.umich.edu/~dporter/sampler/sampler.html

Not only can you find here the “Four Great Books”, but also an incredible choice of various texts, presenting at the same time narratives in fiction and non-fiction, modern or classical. This is what I had been looking for, for…years (!).

Moreover, the texts are classified by levels, so you can easily and rapidly find your way in this huge corpus. This is an essential source for people learning chinese, I was so impatient to share it to the readers of this blog, I really think that if you can read a minimum of 1000 character, this is Aladdin’s cave. 

 

 

pyiffestival

 

II- The city of Pingyao, and Jia Zhangke’s brand new film festival

Pingyao is a very ancient city in central China. It has been preserved from modernity and concrete builders, by the way it’s a famous Unesco site. This is the place where Jia Zhangke decided to present the first prominent independent film festival in China. I really like his work : I discovered him with “Still Life” a few years ago, and his last two films gave him a wider worldwide audience : A Touch of Sin & Mountains May Depart.

In a country where big studios and blockbusters make more money than anywhere else on the planet, this really is good news for independent films. The festival took place just a few weeks ago, with the help of Marco Müller from Venice Film Festival, and the NY Times published a great article on it.

This made me remember our first time in China, summer of 2011. We spent 3 weeks from Shanghaï to Beijing, and … three days in Pingyao, here is a little photo album :

 

And for those who take an active interest in the influence of the cinema in the “soft power” of China,

here is a recent podcast on the subject, it’s only in french.