Du Jinfang

Du Jinfang
b. 1932, Beijing
Theatre actor
Du Jinfang, is an outstanding Jingju (Peking opera) performer. She was a disciple of Master Mei Lanfang, and her exquisite performing skills are considered the best representation of Master Mei’s performance-style (Meipai), which is duplicated in her make-up, body movements and gestures. Du’s sweet and mellow voice complements her strong dancing and acting skills, which have been show-cased in her performance of many of Mei’s plays, such as Guifei zuijiu, Bawang beiji and Yu Zhoufeng.
Her speciality is playing the chinyi and huashen roles (see Xiqu role types). She received the Mei Hwa Jiang, the highest award in the field of Peking opera. In the 1950s she joined the Jung Kao Xiqu Academic Experimental Troupe (now called Jingjuyan), working in conjunction with Yuan Shehai, Yu Kaizhi and Sun Yuehwa, among other outstanding actors. Her credits include White Snake, Yu Shehwa, Tao Hwasan, Ye Zeuling, Bai Maonu. Ms Du has achieved the highest performance level in the PRC.
Duan Jinchuan
b. 1962, Chengdu, Sichuan
Independent video documentary filmmaker
One of the pillars of the New Documentary Movement, Duan Jinchuan acknowledges the influence of US cinema vérité filmmaker Frederick Wiseman; many of his rigorous, finely crafted pieces explore the relationship between institutions and individuals. In 1998, he co-founded a small company, China Memo Films (Beijing chuan linyue yingshi zixun youxian gongsi), with his colleague Jiang Yue.
Graduating from Beijing Broadcasting Institute in 1984, Duan then worked for Tibet TV Station before returning to Beijing in 1992. His Tibetan experience inspired such videos as Highland Barley (Qingke, 1986), The Sacred Site of Asceticism (Qing puku xiuzhe de shengdi, 1993, co-directed with Wen Pulin), and The Ends of the Earth (Tianbian, 1997), an epicscale work which follows transhumant shepherds through the spectacular landscapes of the northern plateaux; his better-known work to date, No 16 Barkhor South Street (Bakuo nanjie shiliuhao, 1996: Grand Prix du Festival du Réel, Paris), elegantly conveys the intimate, politically charged, yet often humorous, interaction between citizens and the cadres of a Lhasa neighbourhood committee (juweihui).
Duan kept on filming the surface of everyday life by collaborating with Zhang Yuan on The Square (Guangchang, 1995), shot in 35 mm. With Sunken National Treasures (Chen chuanjiu qinian de gushi, 1999), he explores the comic foibles and grand absurdities of bureaucracy. The Secret of My Success (Linqi da shetou, 2002) focuses on the plight of a petty official in a village in rural northeast China—a jovial, ambitious, contradictory man who has to face local corruption, wayward women defying the one-child policy and possible retaliation if the law is not applied.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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