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Posts Tagged ‘Cultural Center’

Vitus, an entertaining and enlightening film

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

VitusVitus, a Swedish film by director Fredi M. Murel, is very sweet, entertaining, yet enlightening film. The film was released in 2006 and shown at the Chicago International Film Festival (CIFF) the same year and won the Audience Choice Award. Vitus, a young piano prodigy, and genius in many other areas, wants to be “normal” and control his own growing up path, vs. being dictated by his well-meaning parents. There is no villain in the film, and no tragic ending, despite the accidental death of Vitus’ grandfather.

The film was shown at the Chicago’s Cultural Center last night to a packed audience, followed by a nice discussion led by Ron Falzone, professor of film at Columbia College. It was part of CIFF’s Annual International Screenings Program.

I like the film because of the multiple levels of relationship presented—Vitus with his parents, and the real connection he has with his grandfather, his disconnect with his peers as a talent child, and his clever way of out-smart his controlling mother. Unlike many films that present “dis-functioning” families, Vitus’ parents love each other and love him, he loves them. His faked fall from their apartment building not only manipulated his way out of his mother’s tight grip, but also the perception of the audience. It was not because he didn’t want to practice piano, but practice the way he sees fit.

Vitus (film)

Vitus (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the end, Vitus lets go of his cover and performs brilliantly with a first rate symphony orchestra, to the fullest satisfaction any parents could have. That, along with the surreal happenings in which that he helps his grandfather realizing his pilot dream and helps his father restores his dignity and company position. But what lingers in my mind most is the relationship between his nurturing grandfather and him. Very sweet and touching. Highly recommend it.

Jian Ping, author of Mulberry Child: A Memoir of China, which has been developed into an award-winning documentary film by Susan Morgan Cooper and is narrated by Jacqueline Bisset. The film was on national PBS in May 2014.

“International Breakfast”

Friday, February 18th, 2011

by Jian Ping

Chicago Sister Cities International (CSCI) hosted its third annual “International Breakfast” yesterday at the Cultural Center. All attendees were members of CSCI or the Chicago Consular Corps (CCC), including representatives of all General Consulates located in Chicago. The large Yates Gallery on the 4th floor of the

Me with Mayor Daley

Cultural Center was completely full. Samuel Scott, Chairman of CSCI made the introduction and Patricia Maza-Pittsford, Dean, CCC and Consul General of El Salvador, gave a keynote address.

The highlight of the event, however, was Mayor Richard Daley’s welcome remarks. Since this was his last speech to this assembly as Chicago Mayor, the audience gave him a standing ovation as he walked to the podium and another standing ovation when he finished speaking. Mayor Daley played a key role in developing CSCI. In 1960, Mayor Richard J. Daley, his father, signed the first Sister Cities agreement with Warsaw, Poland. Since then, Chicago has established relationships with 28 cities all over the world, including Shenyang and Shanghai, Paris, Athens, Moscow and Delhi. Among them, the agreements with more than 20 cities were signed by the current Mayor who had recently announced he would not run for re-election this month.

The 3rd Annual Int'l Breakfast, CSCI

CSCI has many committees working on issues related to education, business, healthcare, and cultural exchange programs. I’ve been a member of the China Committee for about ten years and enjoyed working on business and cultural exchange programs. I was thrilled to hear Mayor Daley announced that Chicago would be “the most China-friendly city” during the recent visit of President Hu Jintao to Chicago. Having experienced many political movements during my growing up years in China, I had never been a fan to politicians or government officials. But yesterday, feeling nostalgic even before Mayor Daley steps down, I stood by his side and took a photo with him!

Hope CSCI will continue to flourish.

Jian Ping, author of Mulberry Child: A Memoir of China. For more information, visit, Mulberry Child is being developed into a feature-length documentary film by director Susan Morgan Cooper and will be released in 2011.

Events at Chicago Sister Cities International

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009
Chicago Cultural Center

Chicago Cultural Center

The China Committee of the Chicago Sister Cities International held two large events yesterday—The Green Energy and Technology Summit at the Cultural Center during the day and the Shanghai Gala, an annual fundraising event at Maxim’s in the evening. A delegation of 30 people consisted of government officials and business executives from Shanghai, Chicago’s sister city in China, met with their U.S. counterparts and joined the Gala.   

I volunteered to be an interpreter for the one-on-one meetings between company representatives from the two countries. Each 15-minute pre-assigned meeting moved smoothly. Among the crowd, I noticed a friend who came at my suggestion—he runs a successful family business in construction. I was pleased to learn that he met with a solar energy company during the “match” session and had scheduled another private meeting with the company the following day.

At the Shanghai Gala, I sat by a Shanghai city government official. We chatted about their trip the delegation would go to Montreal, a sister city of Shanghai in Canada, for another similar meeting. Despite the rainy and windy weather in the last couple of days, he marveled at the contemporary look, cleanliness and beauty of Chicago. We also chatted about a variety of issues in China, from the current school reform, migrate workers and their children’s education, the care for elders, to corruption. He was open and straightforward. I was impressed and gained a deeper understanding of the scale of changes, not just economically, but also culturally and socially, in China.

Exchange programs like this expand business relationship and understanding between the two countries. The Chicago Sister Cities International did a wonderful job in organizing such an event, and more, extended its hospitality by inviting all the Shanghai delegation members as guests to the evening Gala. And I am proud to say that my daughter Lisa, who works for the Chicago Sister Cities, played a key role in putting the events together. I observed her greeting guests and taking care of logistic issues from a distance. She was professional, poised and beautiful. From time to time, she sought me out and introduced me to some guests she wanted me to meet. I knew she had worked very hard on these events. The night before the events, she, along with several co-workers and China Committee members, worked to the wee hours in the morning. She showed no sign of fatigue, however, and I was filled with pride. When four fellow China Committee members came to me through the evening to tell me how they enjoyed working with Lisa, I beamed with delight. They used terms such as “smart, hard-working, efficient, reliable, and fun to work with” to describe Lisa. That ended my busy day with a perfect touch.

Jian Ping, author of Mulberry Child: A Memoir of China