Film - Feature | February 7 | 7 p.m. | Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
Chinas tumultuous 1980s are revisited in this hyperrealistic account of one provincial theater troupes struggles in a landscape dizzily moving from postCultural Revolution isolation to a consumer-age nightmare of bad perms and disco fever. The troupe begins in 1979 as the Fenyang Peasant Culture Group, desultorily performing propaganda songs about Chairman Mao, but ten years (and a centurys worth of economic and social changes) later theyve morphed into the All-Star Rock n Breakdance Electronic Band, performing Cantopop and Michael Jackson to dwindling audiences and increasingly corrupt paymasters, whether politicians or police. Well versed in the dusty forgotten towns and no-hope landscapes that his characters travel, Jia covers an entire decadesand an entire nationstransformation from communism to capitalism through one group trying to make sense of it all, and frequently failing to. Touching and sometimes hilarious, Platform is essential viewing for anyone interested in Chinas history, the effects of global capitalism, andnot leastgreat filmmaking.