Archive for December, 2010

Chinese Culture – Snapshots of Chinese silver screen – Study Chinese

Friday, December 31st, 2010
Snapshots of the silver screen

Early Spring in February, starring Xie Fang, (1963), is featured in the guide. (Photo: China Daily)

BEIJING, Nov. 12 (Xinhuanet) — If you have ever wondered whether China has produced any cinema other than over-embellished period dramas, kungfu-style action flicks or soapy stories about who gets to hook the office stud, 101 Essential Chinese Movies might be a good place to start.

Published recently by the Shanghai-based Earnshaw Books and written by journalist-turned-film historian Simon Fowler, the book is both a handy guide for the uninitiated and a springboard to plunge right into China’s incredibly multi-dimensional 105-year-old cinematic history. It, as Time’s China correspondent Austin Ramzy states in his advance praise for the book, “provides the reader with deep insights into not only Chinese film, but also China itself”.

Fowler, who has been strongly influenced by films since he was about 11, made a smooth transition from a film fanatic to being a “Chinese film fanatic” soon after moving to China from England in 2006.

As one who had been tutored meticulously into understanding the black-and-white classics by his eldest brother “Jem” – now a filmmaker based in London – the younger Fowler felt he badly needed a “context” to read Chinese films once he hit the shores of the Middle Kingdom. What started off as trying to establish a frame of reference to arrive at a better understanding of Chinese films has since evolved into 101 Essential Chinese Movies.

Interestingly, he left out the bulk of films made in Hong Kong and Taiwan – films which, in popular imagination, often represent the idea of “Chinese” to the rest of the world. Fowler focused on films from the Chinese mainland, the people who made them and the politics that, until recently, went into their making.

“The cinema of the mainland – for most of the past century – has been overtly political,” Fowler comments. “Even before the communists came to power, films were mainly made by Leftist intellectuals in Shanghai and they weaved their messages into nearly every plot. What is most interesting about this is that they were still able to achieve a high stylistic and artistic level.”

It is relatively recently that the Chinese mainland has begun to produce wuxia (martial arts)-dominated genre films, he says.

The winds of change are apparent as Zhang Yimou, arguably China’s most influential film director, is now massively into period drama that come with a panoramic flourish, and often dazzling color-coordinated fight sequences. “It’s getting harder to distinguish between the two (a Chinese mainland product and a Hong Kong sample),” Fowler points out.

In his opinion the 1930s define Chinese cinema’s “golden age”. Filmmaking in China began as early as 1905 (The Battle of Dingjunshan was the filmed version of a Peking Opera). But it was with the films made by the free-spirited, educated, urban directors, who produced their works in the concession areas of Shanghai, where the long arm of the Japanese forces who controlled most of coastal China could not reach them, that Chinese cinema came into its own.

Chinese Pinyin – 蹙 [cù] – HSK

Friday, December 31st, 2010

[cù]

wrinkled
urgent
contracted
to kick

蹙-注解
——————————————————————————–
(1) ㄘㄨˋ
(2) 紧迫:穷~。
(3) 皱,收缩:~眉。~额。~皱。~缩。~金(用拈紧的金线刺绣,使刺绣的纹路绉缩起来。亦称“拈金”)。
(4) 局促不安:~~。
(5) 郑码:HMKJ,U:8E59,GBK:F5BE
(6) 笔画数:18,部首:足,笔顺编号:132112345342512134
参考词汇
——————————————————————————–
frown    pressed
蹙-详细注解
——————————————————————————–
[形]
(1) (形声。从足,戚声。本义:紧迫,急促)
(2) 同本义 【urgent】
政事愈蹙。——《诗·小雅·小明》
(3) 又如:蹙变(急速变化)
(4) 困窘 【embarrassed】
自吾氏三世居是乡,积于今六十岁矣,而乡邻之生日蹙。——柳宗元《捕蛇者说》
(5) 又如:蹙迫(困窘,窘迫);蹙境(边境防务窘迫)
(6) 愁苦的样子 【worried;be in straitened circumstances】。如:蹙怖(忧愁恐惧的样子);蹙然(忧愁不悦的样子)
(7) 局促不安的样子 【respectful and careful】
蹙然衣粗食恶。——《荀子》
(8) 又如:蹙促(局促不安的样子)
(9) 狭窄,狭小 【narrow】。如:蹙弱(迫窄弱小);蹙澳(水流狭窄弯曲)
词性变化
——————————————————————————–
[动]
(1) 聚拢;皱缩 【knit one’s brows;frown】
举疾首蹙额而相告。——《孟子》
(2) 又如:蹙恨(皱起眉头表示怨恨);蹙沓(形容多而密集的样子)
(3) 逼迫;追逼 【force;compel】
蹙也百里。——《诗·大雅·召旻》
(4) 又如:蹙迫(逼迫);蹙促(逼迫);蹙击(迫击;追击)
(5) 接近;迫近 【be close to;approach】
今也日蹙国百里。——《诗·大雅·召旻》
(6) 又如:蹙迫(逼近)
(7) 缩小;减削 【contract;lose】
(8) 又如:蹙頞(缩鼻哭泣);蹙土(蹙地。损失国土);蹙动(皱缩)
(9) 通“蹴”。踢;踏 【kick;step on】
以足蹙路马刍,有诛。——《礼记·曲礼上》
一蹙自造青云,何至于驽马争路。——《南史·刘穆之传》
扬鞭一蹙破霜蹄,万骑如风不能及。——苏轼《申王画马图》
(10) 又如:蹙鞠(踢球);蹙踏(踢;踩踏)
常用词组
——————————————————————————–
蹙额
cù’é
【frown;knit one’s brows】 不高兴或全神贯注时的皱眉头
举疾首蹙頞而相告。——《孟子·梁惠王》
蹙缩
cùsuō
(1) 【shrink】∶收缩
衣服一洗蹙缩得不成样子了
(2) 【withdraw】∶退缩
畏难蹙缩
汉译英
——————————————————————————–
frown    pressed
English
——————————————————————————–
C ù
Urgent.
Wrinkle, constringency.
Narrow uneasy.

蹙-注解
——————————————————————————–


(1) ㄘㄨˋ
(2) 紧迫:穷~。
(3) 皱,收缩:~眉。~额。~皱。~缩。~金(用拈紧的金线刺绣,使刺绣的纹路绉缩起来。亦称“拈金”)。
(4) 局促不安:~~。
(5) 郑码:HMKJ,U:8E59,GBK:F5BE
(6) 笔画数:18,部首:足,笔顺编号:132112345342512134
参考词汇
——————————————————————————–
frown    pressed    蹙-详细注解
——————————————————————————–


[形]
(1) (形声。从足,戚声。本义:紧迫,急促)
(2) 同本义 【urgent】
政事愈蹙。——《诗·小雅·小明》
(3) 又如:蹙变(急速变化)
(4) 困窘 【embarrassed】
自吾氏三世居是乡,积于今六十岁矣,而乡邻之生日蹙。——柳宗元《捕蛇者说》
(5) 又如:蹙迫(困窘,窘迫);蹙境(边境防务窘迫)
(6) 愁苦的样子 【worried;be in straitened circumstances】。如:蹙怖(忧愁恐惧的样子);蹙然(忧愁不悦的样子)
(7) 局促不安的样子 【respectful and careful】
蹙然衣粗食恶。——《荀子》
(8) 又如:蹙促(局促不安的样子)
(9) 狭窄,狭小 【narrow】。如:蹙弱(迫窄弱小);蹙澳(水流狭窄弯曲)
词性变化
——————————————————————————–


[动]
(1) 聚拢;皱缩 【knit one’s brows;frown】
举疾首蹙额而相告。——《孟子》
(2) 又如:蹙恨(皱起眉头表示怨恨);蹙沓(形容多而密集的样子)
(3) 逼迫;追逼 【force;compel】
蹙也百里。——《诗·大雅·召旻》
(4) 又如:蹙迫(逼迫);蹙促(逼迫);蹙击(迫击;追击)
(5) 接近;迫近 【be close to;approach】
今也日蹙国百里。——《诗·大雅·召旻》
(6) 又如:蹙迫(逼近)
(7) 缩小;减削 【contract;lose】
(8) 又如:蹙頞(缩鼻哭泣);蹙土(蹙地。损失国土);蹙动(皱缩)
(9) 通“蹴”。踢;踏 【kick;step on】
以足蹙路马刍,有诛。——《礼记·曲礼上》
一蹙自造青云,何至于驽马争路。——《南史·刘穆之传》
扬鞭一蹙破霜蹄,万骑如风不能及。——苏轼《申王画马图》
(10) 又如:蹙鞠(踢球);蹙踏(踢;踩踏)
常用词组
——————————————————————————–
蹙额
cù’é
【frown;knit one’s brows】 不高兴或全神贯注时的皱眉头
举疾首蹙頞而相告。——《孟子·梁惠王》
蹙缩
cùsuō
(1) 【shrink】∶收缩
衣服一洗蹙缩得不成样子了
(2) 【withdraw】∶退缩
畏难蹙缩
汉译英
——————————————————————————–

frown    pressed
English
——————————————————————————–

C ù
Urgent.
Wrinkle, constringency.
Narrow uneasy.

Chinese Podcast – 揠苗助长 – Learn mandarin

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

揠苗助长 (yà miáo zhù zhǎng)
Try to help the shoots grow by pulling them upward—Spoil things by excessive enthusiasm

Once upon a time, an old farmer planted a plot of rice. Everyday he went to the field to watch the seedlings grow. He saw the young shoots break through the soil and grow gradually taller each day. But still, he thought they were growing too slowly. He got impatient with the young plants.

“How could the plant grow faster?” He tossed in bed during the night and couldn’t sleep. Suddenly he hit upon an idea. He couldn’t wait for daybreak. He jumped out of the bed and dashed to the field. By the moonlight, he began working on the rice seedlings. One by one, he pulled up the young plants by half an inch. When he finished pulling, it was already morning. Straightening his back, he said to himself, “What a wonderful idea! Look, how much taller the plants have grown overnight!” With great satisfaction he went back home. He told his son what he had done in a triumphant tone.

His son was shocked and went to the field himself. Now the sun had risen. The young man was heart-broken to see all the pulled-up young plants dying.

This ancient fable was later contracted into the idiom 揠苗助长(yà miáo zhù zhǎng). We use it to describe the behaviour of someone who is too eager to get something done only to make it worse. It is a bit like the English proverb “Haste makes waste”.

A more colloquial version: 拔苗助长(bá miáo zhù zhǎng).