Sydney Film fest to Focus on China

The 2014 Sydney Film Festival will feature a contemporary blend of Chinese cinema.
Sydney Film fest to Focus on China

Black Coal, Thin Ice has been selected for Official Competition at the Sydney Film Festival. Image courtesy SFF. 

A Focus on China at this year’s Sydney Film Festival (SFF) is set to take audiences on a journey through the streets of Beijing, the complexity of Chinese family politics, and the mountains of Nepal in an exclusive contemporary Chinese cinema showcase.

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SFF Festival Director Nashen Moodley is excited to announce the program, which includes six feature films and one short from some of the China’s most innovative and exciting filmmakers.

‘I’m really happy that we are doing a China focus. China makes some of the world’s most fascinating films,’ he said.

‘China has one of the world’s fastest growing cinema populations and we have some great Chinese films this year.’  

‘We have such a great program, everything from glossy commercial films to very independent documentaries. I encourage people to explore the cinema of China,’ he said.

SFF Focus on China guest programmer ad film curator Shelly Kraicer said that the SFF has worked hard to ensure the best mix of the best new Chinese films has been selected.

‘Chinese cinema offers unlimited delights - its rebels, ghosts and romantics come to life through its screens to our imaginations.’

Kracier said that Chinese writer-director Diao Yinan, a guest of the festival with film Black Coal Thin Ice, has also been selected for the prestigious Official Competition.

‘In our Official Competition, the noir-mystery-art-house mash-up of passion and murder in Black Coal Thin Ice landed it the prestigious Golden Bear at the Berlinale,’ he said.

As on of the leading writer-directors of China’s avant-garde theatre, Diao Yinan’s debut feature Uniform won the Dragons & Tigers Award at Vancouver International Film Festival and his second film, Night Train, premiered in Un Certain Regard at Cannes.

SFF 2014 Focus on China films:


Beijing Ants

2014, China, In Mandarin with English subtitles, Australian Premiere

Director, Producer: Ryuji Otsuka

Filmmakers and married partners Ryuji Otsuka and Huang Ji are the main characters in this documentary about life at ground level in Beijing.

Dancing in the Room

2013, China, In Mandarin with English subtitles, International Premiere

Director, Screenwriter: Peng Lei

Producer: Gan Tian

Cast: Jiang Yuchen, Li Jing, Zhang Nan

An oddball non-romantic comedy about a young woman living on the margins of society in Bejing.

Lake August

2014, China, In Mandarin with English subtitles, Australian Premiere

Director, Screenwriter: Yang Heng

Producers: Kong Lihong, Yang Heng

Cast: Tian Li, Shang Xiaoling, Yao Maosheng

A young drifter reeling from tragedy and heartbreak holes up in a riverside hotel in director Yang Heng's beautiful portrait of contemporary backwater China.

Mothers

2013, China, In Mandarin with English subtitles, Australian Premiere

Director: Xu Huijing

Producers: Ben Tsiang, Hao Zhiqiang

Filmmaker Xu Huijing secured astonishingly free access to local bureaucrats and residents in this look at the complexities of China's family-planning policies and their casualties.

The Private Life of Fenfen

 2013, USA, China, In Mandarin with English subtitles, Australian Premiere

Director, Producer: Leslie Tai

Leslie Tai's short film documents an experiment in which a feisty young Chinese migrant worker's tragic love story is broadcast to migrant workers across China.

Up In the Wind

2013, China, In Mandarin with English subtitles, Australian Premiere

Director: Teng Huatao

Screenwriter: Bao Jingjing

Producers: Chen Rong, Teng Huatao, Hao Wei, Zhong Shi, Bill Kong, Han Sanping, Gu Yongjiang

Cast: Ni Ni, Jing Boran, Liu Yase

A Shanghai journalist finds spiritual comfort on assignment for a posh magazine in Nepal in Teng Huatao's gorgeously shot feature - part travelogue, part quest tale.

 

Black Coal, Thin Ice, Chinese Official Competition Feature

2014 China, Hong Kong, In Mandarin with English subtitles, Australian Premiere

Director, Screenwriter: Diao Yinan

Producers: Qu Vivian, Wan Juan, Shen Yang, Zhang Dajun

Cast: Liao Fan, Gwei Lun Mei, Wang Xuebing

The winner of the Golden Bear at this year's Berlinale is a stylish film noir set in industrial northern China. A murder investigation involves a retired cop and a beautiful and mysterious woman.

The 61st Sydney Film Festival runs from 4 to 15 June in venues across the city.

For more information including ticket sales and the complete event program visit the Sydney Film Festival website.

Troy Nankervis

Monday 12 May, 2014

About the author

Troy Nankervis is an ArtsHub journalist from Melbourne. Follow him on twitter @troynankervis