Culture shock

The World

Posted May 31, 2007

The Disneyworld of Beijing, China, is The World, an amusement park where you can tour Gothic castles, Italian gardens, and Parisian landmarks in one day. Zhang Ke Jia's movie, "The World" (Shijie), takes place at the park and zooms in on the lives of the staff who feel disconnected and homogenized from their own worlds.

Through new staff arrivals, romances, and language barriers, the film focuses on the young adults attempting to thrive in modern, capitalist China, whose traditional culture is now deeply affected by urbanization and globalization.

"It's a film about another cultural revolution. Not the communist revolution, but the capitalist revolution that's going on in China now," writes film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader. "We're seeing a different perspective on the world that we live in."

The film, brought to the Island by the Martha's Vineyard Film Society, was released in 2004 and won best foreign-language film at the Toronto Film Critics Association awards in 2005.

"The World," Sunday, June 3, 8 pm, at the Katharine Cornell Theatre, Spring Street, Vineyard Haven. Tickets are $6; $4 for society members.

A gem and a revolution

The undiscovered gem at the Capawock Theatre this Monday night, June 4, is "Eve and the Fire Horse," a film written and directed by Julia Kwan. In Cantonese with English subtitles, the film follows little Eve, a 9-year-old girl with an extensive imagination.

Played by Phoebe Kut, Eve was born in the year of the Fire Horse. In Chinese culture, those born in the year of the Fire Horse were thought to bring the family misfortune and trouble, but it's Eve's sense of wonder that distinguishes her and makes her a lovable character.

Winner of eight awards, including the Special Jury prize at Sundance Film Festival in 2006, the film was released in 2005.

"Eve and the Fire Horse," Monday, June 4, 7:30 pm at the Capawock Theatre, Main Street, Vineyard Haven.