Seminci dedicates a retrospective to the last decade of Chinese cinema

Frame of Kaili Blues, by Bi Gan

07/31/2019.- The 64th edition of the Valladolid International Film Festival will be dedicating a retrospective to Chinese cinema, including some of the country’s most significant recent films, which showcase the vitality of its film industry. The retrospective’s title is Breaking Barriers: Chinese Cinema from the Last Decade.

China is worldwide film market leader in terms of number of viewers and box office grosses, with a cinematic output marked by state censorship and the authorities’ iron grip on the theatrical release of foreign titles. Against this backdrop, a new promising generation of filmmakers has emerged whose daring proposals have sometimes clashed with the country’s censorship. Even so, this filmic output has ultimately succeeded in trespassing China’s borders and arousing the interest of the major exhibition circuits. This is a generation of filmmakers where the presence of female directors is more visible than in the past and which often chooses film genres that are infrequent in Chinese cinema, like for example science fiction or noir.

The retrospective’s definitive lineup will be announced shortly, but it will in any case include feature-lengths like Kaili Blues (2015), the film that earned Bi Gan Locarno’s Best New Director and Best First Feature Film awards; An Elephant Sitting Still (2018)the only feature by young writer and filmmaker Hu Bo, who committed suicide just months before completing the film’s editing (the movie bagged Berlin’s GWFF Best First Feature Award and the FIPRESCI Award); Mountains May Depart (2015), by Jia Zhang-ke, a leading director in the development and visibility of China’s independent cinema; Black Coal, Thin Ice (2014), by Berlin awardee Diao Yinan (Golden Bear for Best Film and Silver Bear for Best Actor); Ann Hui’s A Simple Life (2011)Wang Xue-bo’s Knife in the Clear Water (2016); Zhang Miao-yan’s Silent Mist(2017); Zhang Ming’s The Pluto Moment (2018), a film that screened at the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight; and the animation feature Have a Nice Day (2017), by animation artist and director Jian Liu, the winner of a Golden Horse Award for Best Animated Feature Film.

The retrospective will also include documentary features like Shengze Zhu’s Present Perfect (2019), awarded at IndieLisboa and Rotterdam; and Li Luo’s  Li Wen at East Lake (2015), which also screened at the Dutch film fest. The retrospective will be complete with short films like the winner of the Cannes Film Festival Short Film Palme d’Or A Gentle Night (2017), by Qiu Yang (the first Chinese filmmaker to receive such a distinction); Wei Shujun’s On the Border (2018), the winner of a Jury’s Special Mention also at Cannes; or Down There (2018), by Zhengfan Yang, which screened in Venice.

This retrospective has been organized in collaboration with film magazine Caimán Cuadernos de Cine. 

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