Frozen is a 1997 film about a young, depressed performance artist who decides to commit suicide during one of his performances dealing with death — an “ice burial” during which he sat on blocks of ice over the course of a day. It was shot in 1994 and had to be smuggled out of the country, never to be shown in China. Until someone got it on a hard drive and decided to play it on a projector at Dos Kolegas.
This isn’t a movie blog, so I won’t go into the movie much. I’m sure you can imagine what it was like. The actor in the movie, Jia Hongsheng, was heavily into drugs at the time of filming, and was taken to a mental institution in 1996. In 2001, a movie was made about his life and struggles with drugs, and the soundtrack heavily featured some of the godfathers of Chinese rock and roll — Cui Jian, Tang Dynasty, Dou Wei. Earlier this year, he committed suicide.
While I didn’t know any of this backstory at the time I went to the gig, it was clear that it was a memorial show. I’m still not sure of the cultural significance of Jia Hongsheng and the story of his life — what sort of impact it has on today’s youth, or had on his contemporaries — but it’s clear that this movie and he was important to the organizers of this event.
After the movie (which had our teeth chattering, having to watch someone sit on blocks of ice), and a slideshow of photographs of Jia Hongsheng, the bands started and the mood changed entirely. The first act, Two-Faced Country, were quite a moody band. I enjoyed their set, which seemed mostly instrumental at times, and the deep, rich sound kept a bit of the somber mood surrounding the event. They don’t have a large web presence, but check out the video below to get a better idea of their sound. Read more