Cinema is where people connect.

After the successful launch of the Opening Screening at the Cinema in Battersea Power Station London on the 26th of MayOdyssey 2023 will charge on and showcase over 70 films online and offline across the country in June.

Linda Conroy joins us from Maynooth University in Ireland and she will share her thoughts on Odyssey 2023’s programme with 5 guest post articles.

“Hi, my name is Linda. I am a Chinese and Philosophy student at Maynooth University in Ireland. Each year the university runs an innovative Summer Programme for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) whereby students can work closely with faculty members. I am delighted to have been selected and will be jointly mentored by Dr Meishan Zhang of the Chinese Studies Department and Dr Hiu Man Chan of UK-China Film Collab. I will be assisting with her project: The Influence of Films on Students’ Chinese Language Learning Experience.

We are excited to collaborate with Odyssey 2023 on the project. This partnership provides us with a special chance to explore student engagement with film. As part of our pilot study, I will act as the case study student, selecting five films from each strand throughout the festival’s vibrant programme to review here on the blog.

As well as philosophy and languages, I also have an interest in the visual arts, holding a degree in Photography from Belfast School of Art.”  


Strand: Urban Development
Film: Human Nature


The obvious inclination of a language student is to seek out dialogue-based content. However, I was drawn to this short observational documentary for its visual appeal. The conversation is a feint background murmur, although beginners of Chinese will be happy to pick up on the occasional 一 (one, two, three) countdown from the person behind the camera.   

Set in Dujiangyan Park, Sichuan China, Human Nature depicts a globally familiar scene. Employing a simple yet effective strategy of focusing the camera on the people taking photos, the director takes us through the full range of tourist “photo ops”. Moving effortlessly through the staged commercial setup, the amateur family portrait onto the ubiquitous selfie. In one humorous scene, we find a group of older men grappling with selfie sticks before cutting to a young boy adeptly using a mobile phone.   

The writer Susan Sontag highlighted the bound-up relationship between photography and tourism, noting that “it seems positively unnatural to travel for pleasure without taking a camera along.” Emphasising its utility to provide a record, she suggests that taking photographs might also limit the actual experience by turning it into a search for the photogenic souvenir.  

A similar analysis seems evident in this film. With a special focus on China, the director Sebastian Mihailescu describes the Taoist principle of “losing the sense of self” and asks if it is possible to uphold this practice in a digital era where everyone is more inclined to record their experience rather than live it.  

This deceptively quiet film will give you much to consider.  

Watch the film now here until 30 June.



Cinema is where people connect.

60+ films, masterclasses, discussion panels and exclusive Q&As.

Odyssey is the biggest annual film festival in the UK, bridging curious audience with Greater China and overseas Chinese communities. The theme for 2023 is ‘Global Sustainability’.

Presented by UK-China Film Collab (UCFC)
Festival Date: 26 May – 30 June 2023
Format: Offline in Person and Online via Shift 72
Festival Website:

Instagram & Twitter Handle: @odysseyccs

Hashtags: #globalsustainability #odyssey2023 #ukchinafilm #peace