Film Series to Examine China Famine

The Memory Project brings four films to campus examining the Great Famine of 1959-1961.

An upcoming film series at Duke University aims to spotlight Chinese culture and history while providing some recognition for up-and-coming filmmakers.

The Memory Project debuts Wednesday, Oct. 17, at 7 p.m. in the Griffith Film Theater with a viewing of "Treatment," a documentary by esteemed Chinese filmmaker Wu Wenguang. It will be the first of four documentary films screened at Duke this month that focus on China's Great Famine of 1959-61.

The films are the result of a project Wenguang created by enlisting young filmmakers to return to their family villages and tell the stories of their families and others like them during that time.

This historic look at China should have contemporary relevance, said Guo-Juin Hong, interim director of Duke's Arts of the Moving Image program, one of several co-sponsors of the film series.

"There is tremendous interest in China, not just at Duke but everywhere," Hong said. "A lot of the focus is on the Chinese economy, but China is more than just the economic and the political. That's what we want to show."

On Wednesday, Oct. 24, at noon, Wenguang and the other filmmakers will take part in a "Wednesday at the Franklin Center" event in room 240. An opening reception for the series will be held at 6:30 p.m. that day at Griffith Film Theater, followed by a screening of "Luo Village: Me and Ren Dingqi" by filmmaker Luo Bing, at 7:30 p.m.

Other films to be screened include:

-- "Self-Portrait and Dialogue with My Mother/Self-Portrait with Three Women" by filmmaker Zhang Mengqi, at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25, in Richard White Hall on East Campus. Mengqi is also a dancer and will perform a live dance performance as well.

-- "Satiated Village," by Zou Xueping, at 7 p.m.  Friday, Oct. 26, in Richard White Hall.

Question-and-answer sessions with the filmmakers will follow each screening. All films are in Chinese with English subtitles.