Yang Fudong b. 1971
Seven Intellectuals in a Bamboo Forest (2003)
The film Seven Intellectuals in a Bamboo Forest is based on the story of seven intellectual individuals who come from the Wei and Jin Dynasty. Yang Fudong provides the audience with the name of the seven intellectuals: Ruan Ji, Ji Kang, Shan Tao, Liu Ling, Ruan Yan, Xiang Xiu and Wang Rong. These seven intellectuals, five men and two women, were all either poets or writers during the Wei or Jin Dynasty. These seven individuals attempt to escape the pressures of the world and retreat to the bamboo forest together. They are all well dressed with suitcases. In the forest they gather to drink. These seven intellectuals become unruly, singing songs and playing instruments that were popular in these dynasties. Yang Fudong expressed these individuals expressing individuality from the rest of the world, as well as freedom from the pressures that pursued them in their lives. These individuals are widely known for their passion and talent in regard to writing and poetry. They lay naked on a rocky point on the Yellow Mountain (Anhui Providence). The seven intellectuals indulged in many things including; feasting on dried fish, drinking, and sexual activities. Yang Fudong makes these seven intellectuals look as if they are young and careless, one never would have guessed that these people are the smartest and most talented people of their generation. The group then decides to take up a mountainside for rice farming. These people work very hard plowing and planting seeds. They are no longer dressed in their fancy clothes, instead, they are barefoot and in rags. While rice farming the seven intellectuals become very close with nature. They meditate on their sense of alienation and learn to appreciate what they have. Eventually, they go back to city life which confuses them due to their previous experiences. Upon return to the city they are confused and have no real direction in life. Even though they are back in Shanghai, where they originated, they feel lost because of all the new skyscrapers and buildings. This is one of Yang Fudong's most famous works. This film has been showed all around the world and has been appreciated by all of them. Fudong captures the regret that his own generation has because they follow their dreams, as these seven intellectuals did. Yang provides a simple message for a very long film so it could be appreciated by all audiences, Chinese or not. This is a timeless piece of art. It can be appreciated by this generation as well as future generations. Yang Fudong does not contaminate his film with subjects or vents that only one generation can understand; instead, he leaves most of it open to interpretation to each individual person. person "The films play simultaneously here, instead of succession as they did in Venice. I recommend watching Part I and Part V in their entirely, since these two sections best capture the conflicts and regrets of Yang's generation of Chinese dreamers. The other films, while imaginative and haunting, are better savored in small doses."-Barbara Pollack