Seven Intellectuals in Bamboo Forest, Part 5

Director: Yang Fudong
Screenwriters: Yang Fudong

Institute History

  • 2008 Sundance Film Festival


New Frontier showcases uniquely innovative cinematic visions from the art world that seldom find exposure in the film world. The powerfully photographic imagination of rising Chinese art star Yang Fudong are on display in this rare Festival engagement of his atmospheric and epic tale, .

This sensual and poetic five-part series contemporizes a popular Chinese legend of seven ancient intellectuals who survived the tumultuous transition between the Wei and Jin dynasties by finding an indulgent refuge in pure thought and bacchanalian delights within a bamboo forest. Yang’s affluent intellectuals begin atop the breathtakingly picturesque Yellow Mountain in Part 1, travel sexualized interior corridors of the city in Part 2, experience an earthy rural life in Part 3, invent a new world on a deserted island in Part 4, and finally return to the city, integrating their experiences to take on the new urban challenge, in Part 5.

Yang situates his epic exactly where detached intellect meets extreme sensations. Action carries the same weight as inaction in this abstract and contemplative work that engages with the operative that comprehension is often best achieved in a state of immobility. Seven Intellectuals in Bamboo Forest may serve as a metaphor for the overwhelming task—evident in China and many other parts of the world—of keeping up with today’s torrential change.

Screening Details

  • Section: New Frontier Films
  • Film Type: Dramatic Feature
  • Country: China
  • Language: Chinese
  • Run Time: 90 min.


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