Wedgwood bone china plate, Staffordshire, 1815–20; in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
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Defensive wall, northern China. One of the largest building-construction projects ever carried out, it runs (with all its branches) about 4,500 mi (7,300 km) east to west from the Bo Hai (Gulf of Chihli) to a point deep in Central Asia. Large parts of the fortification date from the 7th to the 4th century BC. In the 3rd century BC the emperor Shihuangdi connected existing defensive walls into a single system fortified by watchtowers. These served both to guard the rampart and to communicate with the capital, Xianyang (near modern Xi'an) by signal—smoke by day and fire by night. Originally constructed partly of masonry and earth, it was faced with brick in its eastern portion. It was rebuilt in later times, especially in the 15th and 16th centuries. The basic wall is about 23–26 ft (7–8 m) high; at intervals towers rise above it to varying heights. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987.
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The discovery of Peking man in 1927 (see Zhoukoudian) dates the advent of early hominins (human ancestors) to the Paleolithic Period. Chinese civilization is thought to have spread from the Huang He valley. The first dynasty for which there is definite historical material is the Shang (circa 17th century BC), which had a writing system and a calendar. The Zhou, a subject state of the Shang, overthrew its Shang rulers in the mid-11th century and ruled until the 3rd century BC. Daoism and Confucianism were founded in this era. A time of conflict, called the Warring States period, lasted from the 5th century until 221 BC. Subsequently the Qin (or Chin) dynasty (from whose name China is derived) was established, after its rulers had conquered rival states and created a unified empire. The Han dynasty was established in 206 BC and ruled until AD 220. A time of turbulence followed, and Chinese reunification was achieved with the founding of the Sui dynasty in 581 and continued with the Tang dynasty (618–907). After the founding of the Song dynasty in 960, the capital was moved to the south because of northern invasions. In 1279 this dynasty was overthrown and Mongol (Yuan) domination began. During that time Marco Polo visited Kublai Khan. The Ming dynasty followed the period of Mongol rule and lasted from 1368 to 1644, cultivating antiforeign feelings to the point that China closed itself off from the rest of the world. The Manchu overran Ming China in 1644 and established the Qing (Manchu) dynasty. Ever-increasing incursions by Western and Japanese interests led in the 19th century to the Opium Wars, the Taiping Rebellion, and the Sino-Japanese War, all of which weakened the Manchu. The dynasty fell in 1911, and a republic was proclaimed in 1912 by Sun Yat-sen. The power struggles of warlords weakened the republic. Under Chiang Kai-shek some national unification was achieved in the 1920s, but Chiang broke with the communists, who had formed their own armies. Japan invaded northern China in 1937; its occupation lasted until 1945 (see Manchukuo). The communists gained support after the Long March (1934–35), in which Mao Zedong emerged as their leader. Upon Japan's surrender at the end of World War II, a fierce civil war began; in 1949 the Nationalists fled to Taiwan, and the communists proclaimed the People's Republic of China. The communists undertook extensive reforms, but pragmatic policies alternated with periods of revolutionary upheaval, most notably in the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. The anarchy, terror, and economic paralysis of the latter led, after Mao's death in 1976, to a turn to moderation under Deng Xiaoping, who undertook economic reforms and renewed China's ties to the West. The government established diplomatic relations with the U.S. in 1979. Since the late 1970s the economy has been moving from central planning and state-run industries to a mixture of state-owned and private enterprises in manufacturing and services, in the process growing dramatically and transforming Chinese society. The Tiananmen Square incident in 1989 was a challenge to an otherwise increasingly stable political environment after 1980. In 1997 Hong Kong reverted to Chinese rule, as did Macau in 1999.
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André Téchiné (born 13 March 1943 at Valence-d'Agen (Tarn-et-Garonne) in France), is a French screenwriter and film director. He has had a long and distinguished career that placed him among the best post-New Wave French film directors.
He belongs to a second generation of French film critics associated with Cahiers du cinéma who followed François Truffaut, Claude Chabrol, Jean-Luc Godard and others from criticism into film-making. Téchiné is noted for his elegant and emotionally charged films that often delve into the complexities of human condition and emotions. An intimist flavor pervades his work.
One of the trademarks of his filmography is the lyrical examination of human relations in a sensitive but unsentimental way, as can be seen in his most acclaimed films: My Favorite Season (1993) and Wild Reeds (1994).
At nineteen he moved to Paris in order to look for a career in filmaking. He failed the entrance examination at France most prominent film school, but started to write reviews for the prestigious Cahiers du cinéma where he worked for four years (1964-1967). His first article was about Truffaut’s The Soft Skin. Téchiné went on to become assistant director for Marc'o on his film Les Idoles (1967) and to Jacques Rivette, (his editor at Carthiers du Cinema) on L’Amour Fou (1969).
Téchiné is noted for his elegant and emotionally charged films that often delve into the complexities of human condition and emotions. An intimist flavor pervades his work. One of the trademarks of his filmography is the lyrical examination of human relations in a sensitive but unsentimental way.
Hôtel des Amériques (1981), set in Biarritz, explores the strained relationship between a successful middle-aged woman and an unfulfilled and emotionally unbalanced man in a story of a hopelessly ill-matched love. This film marked a turning point in Téchiné’s career, anchoring his work from then on in a more realistic universe from a previous romantic one. For the first time Téchiné let his actors improvise, a practice he has continued ever since, adjusting his scripts to accommodate the new material.“ From Hotel des Amériques onwards my films are no longer genre films” he said, “My inspiration is no longer drawn from the Cinema”. This film also started a long productive collaboration with Catherine Deneuve, his actress-fetish, to which he cast on beautiful characters of willful but at the same time vulnerable women: "There are some directors who are more feminine than others, like Téchiné, like Truffaut. They are an exceptional gift to actresses." Deneuve said about their collaboration.
This compelling and sensitive coming of age drama is Téchiné’s best film to date. The sumptuous location filming, the quality of the dialogue and the remarkable acting performances make this a memorable and moving film. As in most of Téchiné’s work, the unhurried pace and realistic interactions between the characters allows the audience to become drawn into the film’s tapestry and become emotionally involved with what is shown. Téchiné’s depiction of a young man coming to terms with his homosexuality is particularly moving, perhaps reflecting his own troubled experiences as an adolescent. The film conveys the frustration and optimism of teenage love with a heart-rending effectiveness. Wild Reeds was a hit at the 1994 César award ceremony, winning four out of eight nominations (best film, best director, best script, and best newcomer for Élodie Bouchez). It also won the Prix Delluc in 1994. This was Téchiné’s sixth film released in the USA (in 1995--following French Provincial (Souvenirs d'enfrance), Barrocco, Hotel des Ameriques, Rendezvous and Scene of the Crime) and his most autobiographical picture to date. Wild Reeds won the New York Film Critics Award and National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
Téchiné tactfully renders the confusion and desperation occasioned by these personal dilemmas into a larger canvas of cultural dislocation, identity and friendship. In moving between the stories of his three principal actors, Téchiné establishes both an emotional immediacy and painful confusion that shrewdly captures the intensity of feeling between them, addressing some of the director's trademark themes: family relations, irreconcilable sexual entanglements and the allure of criminal activity.
Set in a rarefied zone of remembrance, Téchiné films record the subtlest nuances of image and character in a tight, restrained style that uncorks big emotional payoffs. This is once of Téchiné's "provincial" films with sumptuous scenes of sunstruck fields and water in the Southern French countryside, where the director was born, the beautiful photography contrast with the horror of the period in which the story is set in this mystical, sensual film about a lost paradise.
André Téchiné is known particularly for his ability to draw strong performances out of his female performers and the most respected French actors have worked with him, including: Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche, Jeanne Moreau, Emmanuelle Béart, Isabelle Adjani, Isabelle Huppert, Elodie Bouchez, Sandrine Bonnaire, Gérard Depardieu , Daniel Auteuil, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Philippe Noiret.
|Year||English title||Original title||Notes|
|1969||Paulina is Leaving||Paulina s'en va||Original Script.|
|1975||French Provincial||Souvenirs d'en France||Original Script.|
|1979||The Bronte Sisters||Les sœurs Brontë||Original Script.|
|1981||Hotel America||Hôtel des Amériques||Original Script|
|1986||The Scene of the Crime||Le lieu du crime||Original Script|
|1987||The Innocents||Les Innocents||Original Script|
|1991||I don’t Kiss||J'embrasse pas||Original Script.|
|1993||My Favorite Season||Ma saison préférée||Original Script|
|1994||Wild Reeds||Les roseaux sauvages||Original Script|
|1996||Thieves||Les voleurs||Original Script|
|1998||Alice and Martin||Alice et Martin||Original Script|
|2003||Strayed||Les égarés||Original Script|
|2004||Changing Times||Les temps qui changent||Original Script.|
|2007||The Witnesses||Les Témoins||Original Script|