Chinese Cinema Season: The online line-up and how it works
James R | On 30, Apr 2021
Chinese cinema is coming to your sofa this spring, with independent distributor Trinity Cineasia teaming up with Filming East Festival and UK-China Film Collab for the first edition of Chinese Cinema Season. Running for three months from 12th February (Chinese New Year) until 12th May, it is the biggest online screening event that specialises in Chinese-language films in the UK and Europe. The season showcases Chinese-language films never seen before in the UK and highlight overlooked gems to cinema-lovers in the UK and Ireland.
More than 50 films will be on offer between February and May, divided into themed sections and mini retrospectives. From 12th February, there will be 20 films available and new titles will be added each week, each staying on the platform for at least one to two weeks at a time. The festival opens with four sections: Shanghai Animation Film Studio Retro, Approaching Reality, Debut Spotlight and Domestic Hits. These will later be joined by Lou Ye Mini Retro and Hong Kong Reimagined. The festival is offering individual tickets for films from £2.99 upwards, as well as season passes, with some films available to watch for free.
Speaking on the launch of Chinese Cinema Season, Trinity Cineasia managing director Cedric Behrel said: “In this great lull for cinemas, we have been thinking of how we could engage with our audience in a more meaningful and sustained way, sharing not only recent releases, but our deeper love for Chinese cinema over decades of history. Conversations with UK-Film Collab and Filming East Festival kickstarted this notion of something longer than a festival, that is more suited to the extended periods we have had to stay at home – a season.”
The virtual event is powered by Shift 72 and tickets can be purchased at www.chinesefilm.uk.
You can see the full rundown of titles below that are available. As of 30th April, the closing season is Hong Kong, Reimagined, which aims to spark constructive public debate about the special administrative region, presented at different points in time – from the pre-war era (Golden Gate Girls), to the 1940s (Ip Man 1 & 2), to the ‘60s (Havana Divas, Echoes of the Rainbow), to the ‘80s (My Heart is that Eternal Rose), and to the recent debate about Hong Kong’s identity post-1997 (New Voices from Hong Kong Students [four shorts from the Academy of Film, Hong Kong Baptist University], Keep Rolling, Shock Wave).
Two films get their UK premieres in a special slot.
The Reunions (2020)
Comedy film director Dong Chengpeng went back to his rural hometown, Tonghua, Jilin Province, on a whim, hoping to make an art-house film about how his family celebrated the Chinese New Year. However, during the shooting of the film, the original main subject of the film – his grandmother – passed away due to illness.
Angels Wear White (2017)
Mia is a cleaner who works in a cheap hotel, and Lily, the receptionist, always wants her help. On a fateful night, Lily convinces Mia to work at the reception desk for her for one night, so Lily can sneak out to meet her boyfriend. Then a local senior official, Chairman Liu, brings in two young schoolgirls Wen and Xin to stay. Mia is instantly suspicious. Vivian Qu’s film was nominated for the Golden Lion at the 2017 Venice Film Festival.
Hong Kong, Reimagined
April 6 – May 12: New Voices from Hong Kong Students (4 Shorts from Academy of Film, Hong Kong Baptist University) UK PREMIERE
April 20 – May 12: Golden Gate Girls (2013) UK & IRELAND ONLINE PREMIERE
April 20 – May 12: Havana Divas (2018) UK & IRELAND ONLINE PREMIERE
April 24 – 25: My Heart is That Eternal Rose (1989) UK & IRELAND ONLINE PREMIERE
April 27 – May 12: Keep Rolling (2020) UK & IRELAND PREMIERE
April 30 – May 12: Ip Man (2008)
April 30 – May 12: Ip Man 2 (2010)
May 1 – May 2: Echoes of the Rainbow (2010)
May 1 – May 12: Shock Wave (2017)
May 7 – May 12: Shock Wave 2 (2020) UK & IRELAND PREMIERE
Animation Film Studio Retro
The Shanghai Animation Film Studio is one of the oldest and most famous animation studios in the world. 11 classics, from the 1950s to present day, are remastered to 2k quality and presented here (or in the UK) for the first time. Iconic titles include The Monkey King: Havoc in Heaven (1961), Nezha Conquers the Dragon King (1979), and Lotus Lantern (1999). The range of techniques on show here range from water-ink to paper-cutting. A pass for all the films is also available.
Until May 12: Snow Kid (2K) (1980)
Until May 12: Shanghai Animation Film Studio: A History (2019)
Until May 12: Nezha Conquers the Dragon King (1979)
Until May 12: Black Cat Detective (2010)
Until May 12: Lotus Lantern + Q&A (1999)
Until May 12: Monkey King: Havoc in Heaven + Q&A (1961)
Until May 12: Where is Mama? (1960)
Until May 12: Fishing Child (1959)
Until May 12: Golden Conch (1963)
Until May 12: Feeling From Mountain and Water (1988)
Until May 12: The Story of Mr Nanguo (1981)
Until May 12: The Cowboy’s Flute (1963)
This section presents a series of documentaries that focus on different aspects of Chinese culture and society, from family and marriage, to human geography, from minority youth struggle, to a legendary Chinese diaspora actress.
Until May 12: China’s Van Goghs (2016)
Until May 12: Bumming in Beijing + Q&A (1990)
Until May 12: The Rocking Sky (2015)
Until May 12: Single Woman (2018)
Until May 12: The Road (2015)
Until May 12: Treating (2010)
Until May 12: Double Happiness Limited (2018)
Until May 12: Bazzar Jumpers (2012)
Until May 12: A Yangtze Landscape (2017)
After the so-called ‘6 generations’ directors, plenty of amazing independent directors have emerged in Chinese cinema in recent years. This section brings some of the most celebrated directors and their ‘stunning debut’ features, including Lina Wang, Pema Tseden, Bai Xue, Anthony Chen and Huang Zi.
Until May 12: Ilo Ilo (2013)
Until May 12: All About ING (UK Premiere) (2019)
Until May 12: A First Farewell + Q&A (2018)
Until May 12: The Silent Holy Stones + Q&A (2006)
Until May 12: The Crossing (2018)
For the past few years we have witnessed the rise of the Chinese mega-blockbuster and the seemingly unstoppable rise of the film industry in China. This section presents commercial films, with high production values, that triumphed at the domestic box office. Each of these movies star Chinese A-list actors – including Feng Xiaogang, Joan Chen and Andrew Lau.
Until May 12: The Eight Hundred (2020)
Until May 12: Sheep Without a Shepherd (2019)
Until May 12: Youth (2017)
Until May 12: The Captain (2019)
Lou Ye Mini Retro
As one of the most celebrated “Sixth Generation” directors, Lou Ye has been regarded as a “true artist”, an “authentic filmmaker” and a “constant fighter” of censorship. Despite the controversies, he achieved great success both in China and worldwide.
Until May 12: Spring Fever (2009)
Until May 12: Blind Massage (2014)
Until May 12: Weekend Lover (SD) (1995)
Until May 12: Don’t Be Young (SD) (1994)