Roxie Theatre Sat, Feb 15, 2014 2:30 PM
Roxie Theatre Sun, Feb 16, 2014 12:15 PM
Film Info
Director:Hao Jie
Film Category:Narrative
Running Time:91
Year of Release:2013
Premiere:US Premiere


IndieFest is proud to present independent Chinese director Hao Jie’s latest film, a raucously rollicking crowd-pleaser in The Love Songs of Tiedan (Mei Jie). With the world’s film-festival landscape dominated by downbeat fare, distinctive and talented oddballs like Hao are more necessary than ever!

A bawdy tribute to the Er-ren-tai form of musical performance associated with Hao’s home region in the north-west near the Mongolian border, this film is a colorful, fun, and hugely accessible slice of backwater ethnography. Winner of Best Asian Film Award from the Golden Horse Film Festival in Taiwan. Official selection at Tokyo FILMeX and the international film festivals of: Rotterdam, Hong Kong, San Sebastian, and Vancouver.

"Co-written with Ge Xia, Hao’s script ambitiously covers a time-span of several decades, though so offhand is the attention to period detail that it’s hard to be sure exactly when anything is taking place. The only specified date is an on-screen caption informing us that in 1966 Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution outlawed Er-ren-tai, a two person form of mini-opera whose lyrics often deal with adults-only subjects: ‘Have Sex With Sister-in-Law’ is a typical title.

Taking their cue from the Er-ren-tai songs themselves, which express passionate feelings in bursts of hyper-stylized intensity, Hao and his Korean editor Baek Seung Hoon sock over short scenes packed with freewheeling incident and comedy, sustain high energy levels throughout. But the film’s style is less berserk than it superficially appears, cinematographer Du Pu’s hyperactive digital cameras not only doing justice to the stunningly varied terrain of Shanxi province but also coming up with some smart, striking compositions in between vibrant hand-held evocations of hectic village life.

Seldom far from some kind of absurdity and never, ever dull, The Love Songs of Tiedan isn’t for those who like their ethnographic cinema tidy, ordered and sensible, or who might be distracted by the protagonist suddenly aging about 30 years in what’s supposed to be a one-decade transition - the delightfully pixie-like Shi somehow turning into the careworn, but model-handsome Feng. A dynamic stage presence, this older Tiedan proves much more than a ruggedly pretty face, his character’s bisexuality presented with a matter-of- factness that will likely offend China’s official censors while amusing most everyone else". -The Hollywood Reporter

-Jeff M. Giordano