Jun 17

Maimaiti’s 2008

Written by Buxi on Tuesday, June 17th, 2008 at 8:50 pm
Filed under:culture | Tags:, , ,
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Today’s news is that the Olympic torch has arrived in Xinjiang province. As widely reported in the Western press, the Xinjiang government encouraged people to watch at home on TV due to security concerns. In addition to schools and offices that organized groups to support the torch, many private Chinese still chose to come on the streets. Tianya has reports from some excited eyewitnesses.

In honor of the torch’s visit to Xinjiang, let me introduce a domestic movie that combines three of our favorite topics: football, Olympics, and minorities! Maimaiti’s 2008 is a movie about a group of kids in Turfan, on the edge of the Taklamakan desert. In order to inspire them, their young football coach Maimaiti tells them a little lie: a win in the district finals will translate into a visit to the Opening Ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics.

Here’s the trailer:

The director and primary actors in the movie are all Uygur. There’s a long history of government-sponsorship for minorities in art and literature, and this is just the latest example. Both the director and male lead are graduates of China’s leading film institutes in Beijing.  The director is a member of  the “5th generation” of film directors, same schooling and background as Zhang Yimou, Chen Kaige, etc, etc.

Chinese fans in general gave the movie decent reviews. How does the Uygur community specifically feel about it? Well, it’s a hot topic of discussion on this soccer discussion site… but I have no idea what they’re saying.  Like many other websites in Xinjiang, it’s exclusively in Uygur.

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6 Responses to “Maimaiti’s 2008”

  1. Bob Says:

    OK, completely unrelated, but I notice something wrong and don’t know where to post since there is no feedback page.

    The 2nd to the last national flag displayed near the top of this site looks more like Israeli national flag, rather than Swedish flag (when you place the mouse over you see the text of “Swedish”), no?

  2. admin Says:

    Hi, Bob,

    Good catch! Thanks for pointing it out. That was part of a global translator plug-in I had been fiddling with. I had to remove the plug-in due to some more serious bugs. By the way, you may reach me at webmaster@foolsmountain.com.

  3. Nimrod Says:

    On a side note, Maimaiti (or Mehmet) is the Turkic version of Mahmoud, i.e. Muhammad. The news said there were many torchbearers yesterday with that name.

    The movie trailer sounds dubbed. Is the original in Uygur?

  4. Buxi Says:

    I think you can actually watch all (most?) of the movie here:

    … except it stopped loading after 6 minutes on my screen, so I gave up.

    I have no idea if the original in Uygur, can’t tell from looking at mouth shapes. A lot of putonghua movies are also dubbed!

  5. Nimrod Says:

    Well, all movies are “dubbed” on the sound stage as part of production, but these sound like they were done by voice actors, not the original actors — you know that somewhat exaggerated “Hong Kong” movie dubbing voice.

  6. Buxi Says:

    This is what the Western press gets out of Xinjiang:

    “I’m going to lose two days of business, but what can I do?” said one Uighur man who declined to be identified. He runs a small convenience store on Kashgar’s main street, eerily deserted ahead of the relay, which passed without incident on Wednesday.

    “Of course, I think it’s a good thing the torch is coming here,” he added hastily, wearily eying a police car parked across the road.

    The implication, of course, is that people in China fear arrest for simply *criticizing* the Olympics. And that is absolutely ludicrous, it simply doesn’t happen.

    How do they get away with this? By telling us that Hu Jia was arrested and convicted for “criticizing the Olympics”. Sigh, ridiculous.

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