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 May, Odyssey 2023 will charge on and showcase over 70 films online and offline across the country in June.
Hong Kong has bee invited to be “the City of Honour” this year and we are honoured to have producer and actress Josie Ho as well as director Kim Chan from the opening film to join us in person.
Responding to the theme of “Global Sustainability” and UN’s 17 SDGs, the programme comprises 2 filmmakers in focus, 5 main stands for online screening (‘JOURNEY’, ‘EQUALITY’, ‘BIODIVERSITY’, ‘ENVIRONMENT’ and ‘URBAN DEVELOPMENT’) and GALA offline screenings in 6 cities.
Odyssey: a Chinese cinema season is the first international Chinese film festival dedicated to this particular theme.
This year’s programme is perhaps the most ambitious experiment in contemporary curation. As an advocacy itself, the programme goes beyond the common genre of documentary for the debate of “Global Sustainability”.
China will play an important role in the discussion about “Global Sustainability” in a near future. This programme is an attempt to showcase what and how young filmmakers from the region would like to participate in that dialogue via their filmmaking and storytelling.
Indeed, this curatorial innovation is born in the UK due to its vibrant festival culture. Without being based here, the organising committee would not have come up with this unique angle – being the first in the landscape. One of the most important aims this programme demonstrates, is no longer to judge or include films based on their artistic merit, but their relevance to a wider debate.
This programme neither separates arthouse or independent films from the commercial ones, but sees them as equal where it comes to public debate on a specific topic. Furthermore, this year we have included films not only from mainland China, but also Hong Kong and Macau SAR, the region of Taiwan as well as films by filmmakers from outside of the region but who wish to participate in this conversation.
We hope that you can somehow find a connection across this full list of programme and appreciate what sparks they have created within this dynamic space.
To get a sense of how pioneering and unique Odyssey 2023’s programme is this year, here is a list and summary of all the Official Selection.
Finding Bliss: Fire and Ice (The Directors’ Cut)
A group of musicians from Hong Kong, led by Josie Ho, arrived in the snow and wind-swept nation to look for the most elusive thing on Earth – Happiness.
Selection from Open Submissions (25 films)
Rain, Tear and Sweat
Lesser Fullness of Grain
He Vanished in 1946
Another Me in the World
Photo Studio on the Corner
The Ravishing Astonishing Great Magician
A Prayer in Spring
The New World: Variations on Stay-home Activities
Is There a Pine on the Mountain
The Past Time
Till Love Do Us Part
Thank You. Let’s Dance
Catch A Star If You Can
A Hong Kong Farmer’s Lot
*Highlighted ones are also nominees for this year’s Jury’s Special Prize
Filmmaker in Focus: Josie Ho (4 films)
The first ever Josie Ho focused retrospective in the UK – 28 May at The Prince Charles Cinema, London & Online
Habit (Janell Shirtcliff, 2021)
Butterfly (Yan Yan Mak, 2004)
Dream Home (Ho-Cheung Pang, 2010)
Full Strike (Chi-Kin Kwok, Henri Wong, 2015)
Filmmaker in Focus: Stephen Chow (4 films)
The first ever Stephen Chow focused retrospective in the UK. 1-22 June at The Prince Charles Cinema, London
Forbidden City Cop (Stephen Chow, Vincent Kok, 1996)
The Mermaid (Stephen Chow, 2016)
Kung Fun Hustle (Stephen Chow, 2005)
Sixty Million Dollor Man (Raymond Yip, 1995)
Liverpool GALA Screening (8 films)
2-4 June in partnership with the Picturehouse at FACT, Liverpool
Quennie (Closing Dynasty) (Lloyds Lee Choi, 2023)
Following a seven-year-old shrewd gaze as Queenie navigates the adult world, the film speaks of things parents try to keep hidden, and of childlike tenacity.
Have A Nice Day (Kok Rui Lau, 2018)
A jobless Pakistani immigrant who wants to salvage his marriage by driving for riding applications, which is targeted by the Hong Kong police.
MO (Ka Cheuk Fung, 2020)
Mo is a Pakistani torture claimant who has been waiting for his refugee status to be approved but has not heard from the government yet, and as a result, he has to work in secret.
Contained (Chih-Chieh Yu, 2022)
Two SBC agents arrived as scheduled and shifted with the other agents. However, an accident happened, which eventually led them to danger…
Catch A Stay If You Can (Tanya Choi Ying Liu, 2022)
Long, who has been timid in every situation, decided to leave the swimming team-training camp at night to watch the Leo meteor shower. With the help of Nick, who is always unbridled. They started their journey eventually. First time setting foot in the adult world. While Nick was charmingly untangling all these problems, these experiences began to change Long’s perspective regarding his miserable teenage life. Long and Nick eventually arrive at the beach. Meanwhile, Long has made a life-changing decision…
Tinnitus (Tsering Yangkyi, 2022)
A Tibetan girl comes back to Lhasa for her grandmother’s funeral, getting altitude sickness unexpectedly from lighting a lamp, which leads her to a dream…
Everything (Helai Lu, 2022)
A boy takes on an adventure with a girl who can transform into everything.
The Past Time (Cici Li, 2021)
The love story of 4 young people In Jingnian City, a scenic spot, goes in an unexpected direction due to an “epidemic”…
Glasgow GALA Screening (5 films)
8 & 11 June in partnership with Glasgow Film Theatre
The New World: Variations on Stay-home Activities (Hong Ning, Co-directed with Zhao Xiao Feng, 2020)
In 2020, most residents on the planet were forced to live indoors for days and months due to the epidemic, which influenced everyone’s work and life. In this isolation, many people turned to the Internet and started to show and share their lives, indoors and in their own way.
Kids (Yuzhuang Jiang, 2022)
Do the creatures you believe in childhood disappear when you grow up? Do they not exist or are they just visible to children? Kids poignantly explore what happens when we learn the truth about our childhood fantasies.
2049+ Voice of Rebirth (Chun-Hsu Su, 2021)
Two youngsters enter a global singing competition in hope to save their local ancient temple from an aggressive property developer
Inheritance (Allen Wing Loon Kai, 2023)
A short animation from Hong Kong will be shown before the feature. Inheritance is a sweet story about an elderly master passing his knowledge of the art and philosophy of Go to a young child.
Bonnie Bears: Guardian Code (Yongchang Lin, Heqi Shao, 2023)
Briar and Bramble lose their mother at a very young age due to mysterious circumstances. Many years later, when an older female bear shows up on the scene, the Bear Brothers are determined to find out the truth once and for all.
Cambridge GALA Screening (7 films)
12-14 June in partnership with Arts Picturehouse Cambridge
Nan Run! (Li Yingyi, 2022)
A girl helps a pregnant boy escape from the Perfection Conversation Centre…
A Light Never Goes Out (Anatasia Tsang, 2022)
Devastated by the loss of her skilled neon sign-making husband, a wife decides to carry on his unfinished dream of making neon signs in Hong Kong.
A Hong Kong Farmer’s Lot (Man Kit Chau, 2022)
In Hong Kong, every inch of land is worth gold. 50-year-old Man-gor works as a farmer in the rural area, and his parents are also farmers.
To The Summit (Junce Ye, 2021)
Xia Boyu is the first man from China who reached the summit of Mount Everest with artificial legs. Xia persistently focuses on reaching the summit of Mount Everest regardless of amputation and cancer problems. He ultimately fulfils his dream on May 14th, 2018, at the age of 69.
Another Me in The World (Yiming Fan, 2020)
With the rapid development of cities in modern society, the scope of nature is shrinking. In this context, the symbiotic relationship between humans and nature has become particularly important. The film is about when nature and the city are regarded as two independent individuals, which are originally unrelated to each other. With the rapid development of society, they tend to merge.
The Circle (Vincent Chan, 2022)
Ben Woo, Hing-Ho Chan and Cheuk-Yin To challenged themselves physically and mentally to encircle the whole Hong Kong by kayaking, supported by cycling, in only 5 days in 2021. This documentary depicts the 210km rocky journey of this imperfectly perfect trio-team, how they overcame obstacles, including the vandalized bicycles, dispute among team members and typhoon threat, and became a better team on the return voyage connections to real life.
Thank You. Let’s Dance (Alex Lai, 2022)
A professional dancer/choreographer in his mid-age, an eighty-year-old pianist enduring various pains and illnesses, a Down syndrome young man who bakes and dances… Facing ups and downs in life, they exhibit strong will and determination. Through art creation and performance, the sparks of life emerge.
Bradford GALA Screening (2 films)
16 June in partnership with Pictureville Cinema
Ashes (Daniel J. Egbert, 2021)
A brief and unlikely connection in war complicates a young soldier’s understanding of freedom.
The World of Suzie Wong (Richard Quine, 1960)
Artist Robert Lomax (William Holden) encounters a beautiful Chinese woman Suzie Wong (Nancy Kwan) aboard. Not until his trip to Hong Kong did, he finally know that she is a sex worker. As Suzie models Robert’s works, they gradually fall in love. But their relationships will then be challenged by the disapproval and misunderstandings from their other people.
St Ives GALA (2 films)
23 June in partnership with Royal Cinema
The Fish (Yupeng He, 2021)
A confrontation between life and death.
Till Love Do Us Apart (Ran Li, 2022)
30-year-old college lecturer Shu falls madly in love with a theatre director Fan in Prague, during a work trip to Europe. However, she has a fiancé Hu to marry, and a decent middle-class life in China to pursue.
Online: Journey (8 films)
We wish to see films as an action with a mission, which tackle or discover a new scope of a sustainable future. This strand aims to demonstrate the SDGs of ‘Zero hunger’, ‘Climate Action’, ‘Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions’ and ‘Partnerships for Goals’.
The Crossing (Xue Bai, 2018)
Studying in Hong Kong but living in Shenzhen (the port city of Mainland China), Peipei has spent 16 years in her life travelling between these two cities. To realize the dream of seeing snow in Japan with her bestie, Peipei joins a smuggling gang and uses her student identity to smuggle iPhones from Hong Kong to Mainland. Her family life and friendships begin to fall apart. The daily life of Peipei starts to get out of control.
Song of Rice (Natsuka Ogawa, 2022)
During the production of his own film and television works, young director Xiaguo Ogawa had a deep understanding and experience of Japanese rice culture due to work needs. This film records the process of her participation in farmers’ planting in Hokkaido and her taste of Japanese rice culture at the star rice Pavilion in Tokyo. Director Ogawa recalled his childhood memories of rice with his family during the experience.
On My Way (Jingxuan Zhang, 2021)
A young man came across the secret of life through the experience of getting a driving license.
Forest of Steles Dream (Kemar A. Brown, 2022)
A 90-year-old inscription craftsman established a forest of steles within his lifetime, holding a dream of inheriting traditional Chinese craft and noting the memory of time.
Wild Rose on the Road (Wang Shenghua, 2020)
A poet couple’s journey from southern China to the Loess Plateau.
Harmony (R.C. Pranav, 2016)
The film is based on the musical culture of Xinjiang, the Maqam. The film reflects the emotions evoked by the music of Muqam, the happiness and vibrant spread of music in the people as well as the deep-rooted love within the ethnic group of Uyghur. The music and the dance are the highlights of the film. The film showcases the importance of music in the people and how it helps them to develop their culture based on this pure raw form of art.
Far Away (Kun Sun, 2019)
A film about two primary school kids in rural areas in China.
Photo Studio on the Corner (Laura Salagnac, 2022)
Chloe and her grandmother slip into surreal visions of the past with the help of an aged family photo album, reliving bittersweet moments of their lives.
Online: Equality (10 films)
Responding to the SDGs of ‘No poverty’, ‘Quality Education’, ‘Gender Equality’ and ‘Reduced Inequalities’, this strand is looking for films discussing the issues of equality across different social groups.
Lesser Fullness of Grain (Honglong Wang, 2022)
The story takes place on May 20th, which is not only the 24 solar terms but also 520 Valentine’s Day, which is the last day for a family reunion.
He Vanished in 1946 (Muzhi Zhang, 2022)
Peter Foo never saw his father since1946, when he was 2 years old. 50 years later, Peter found out that his father was a Chinese sailor recruited by British Merchant Navy during WWII. In 1946, the British government secretly repatriated almost all Chinese sailors in Liverpool, and none of their families were told. His father was one of those approximately 20,000 sailors. Peter has kept asking for an apology from the government for more than 15 years. After this long exhausting journey with no result, a great sense of loss ruins his life.
A Prayer in Spring (Tianhui Wu, 2021)
Lin Xiang lives in a remote village surrounded by mountains. She feels confused when learning the language. There is always a big gap between the words and her feelings.
Danzhou Fisherwoman (Zhongyu Wang, 2022)
Through the filming of the working and living scenes of the fisherwomen, as well as the recording of the daily fishing transactions at the central fishing port wharf, this film shows the simple attitude to life and the busy working conditions of the Danzhou fisherwomen, while presenting the local family scene and traditional culture through interviews and exchanges with family-related people.
Is There a Pine on the Mountain (Chongyan Liu, 2022)
An intimate account of a highly toxic relationship: during a lengthy visit from her boyfriend’s mother, the filmmaker documents the arguments between mother and son.
Happily Ever After (Lau Wing Man, Doris, 2022)
Roy has been learning pole dancing without telling his wife Chloe…
The Helper (Joanna Bowers, 2017)
The film explores the living and working conditions of Filipino domestic helpers living in Hong Kong.
The Sparring Partner (Ho Cheuk-Tin, 2022)
A tense and compelling true story based on the shocking 2013 trial of a young man who brutally murdered, dismembered, and cooked his parents with the help of a friend. Pleading not guilty in a trial which dominated local headlines, this searing drama explores the events which unfolded as attorneys clashed and nine jurors grappled with the truth, trying to understand this tragic event which took the media by storm.
Touch of Hope (Mohammed Fatehi Abdual Ghani Ali Al-Absi, 2021)
Kuang Houming worked as a village secretary in ShiluoVillage for more than 30 years, leading the locals of Shiluo Village to construct water and electricity for the village, and to build dozens of kilometres roads on the cliff. He developed the walnut industry, for the villagers, used government funds to set up mutual funds, helped the whole village people out of poverty, and created a stoneluo miracle.
The Trail from Xijiang (Chen Dongnan, 2013)
A group of people who were trafficked from Xinjiang to eastern cities are deeply impoverished, drug-addled, diseased, and imprisoned and cannot go back to their homeland.
Online: Biodiversity (9 films)
We care about all beings on Planet Earth. Biodiversity is a strand that explores the SDGs of ‘Life Below Water’ and ‘Life on Land’.
A Journey to Rice (Mamelang, 2022)
An international student who has spent four years studying in China starts her last journey to find out what rice, a food that she has eaten a lot here, means to Chinese people and herself, so that she can say a fond goodbye to China. Also, the trip reminds her of her grandmother whom she loves so much.
Searching for the Coral Paradise (Chen Chen, 2021)
In the summer of 2019, ocean explorer DaDa, on behalf of China’s local coral conservation organization, Qianai, went to Camiguin in the Philippines, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and other places to visit fellow coral conservationists around the world and record them with videos.
Secret Worlds of Wanglang (Li Binbin, 2020)
The most typical natural environment and species stories of Wanglang, Sichuan, and the significance of these natural elements for human survival.
The Fox and the Hunters 2K (Hu Xionghua, 1978)
A paper-cut animation about a young hunter terrified by a rumoured monster.
Panda’s Department Store 2K (Shen Zuwei/Zhou Keqin, 1979)
A water-ink animation about a panda and the store.
Picking up the Moon 2K (Zhou Keqin, 1981)
A group of greedy monkeys saw the moon in the water and wanted to seize it as their own. Predictably, their efforts ended up in vain.
The Snipe and the Calm 2K (Hu Jingqing, 1983)
A story that uses the snipe and the calm as the main characters to teach people to cooperate and win together.
Pigsy Eats Watermelon 2K (Wan Guchan, 1958)
A paper-cut animation of a small fragment from the Journey to the West.
Earthworm (Xintong Wang, 2023)
An experiment to protect the environment.
Online Environment (5 films)
Films which highlight the issues of our environment or propose solutions to existing issues will be selected for this strand, in response to the SDGs of ‘Good Health and Well-being’, ‘Clean Water and Sanitation’ and ‘Affordable and Clean Energy’.
Altay Skiing Adventure (Shuang Li, 2017)
5 people skiing in the Altai region of northwest China.
Fashion Re-Imagined (Joanna Bowers, 2021)
This film is about a cultural mindset to combat fashion industry pollution in a city once dominated by fast fashion and plastic production.
Kula Rivo Life (Jiawei Wu, 2021)
The documentary presents the beauty of life that tourists often pass by but are often overlooked. It tells the intriguing stories between people and people, people and nature, and all things in nature.
Ode to the Spring (Nan Zhou, Chi Zhang, Yusheng Tian, Yue Dong, XIaozhi Rao, 2022)
The story takes place in the context of Covid-19, this is a film about spring and hope.
Whispers from Mountain Tops (Nikko Meng etc., 2018-2023)
Through the narration of 8 characters who have a touching story to tell about Siguniang Mountain, the series shows how this magical land has moved people’s hearts.
Urban Development (5 films)
Films as a social agent that witness and raise questions around urban development will be considered for this strand. ‘Decent Work and Economic Growth’, ‘Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure’, ‘Sustainable Cities and Communities’, and ‘Responsible Consumption and Production’ are the SDGs criteria for our selection.
Rain, Tear and Sweat (Bei Yu, 2022)
Shanghai plans to build ‘five new cities to provide new immigrants with quality medical care, education, and diverse supporting facilities, shaping a complex urban structure with varied resident experiences.
The Ravishing Astonishing Great Magician (Baysalt Gui, Mickey Fortuna, 2022)
This film tells the tale of a magician’s-downward spiral into insanity when the ultimate sacrifice is needed in order to achieve glory and success. While entertainment constructs push artists to their mortal limits. The film pays homage to early film history, with its main inspirations being the work of Georges Mèlies, twisting classic cinema techniques into its own original style.
Bathing Aid (Shuyun Xie, 2022)
On a hot summer day, Jin Lan’s disabled husband Mao Dong wants to take a bath. This seemingly basic need brings a series of unexpected challenges to the empty-nest couple in the context of urban renewal.
Human Nature (Sebastian Mihailescu, 2015)
You were standing on the bridge to see the scenery, While somebody upstairs was looking at you. From the observational perspective, Human Nature has recorded the state of tourists in Dujiangyan Park, in a trance, from which you can even find your own shadow.
Pundusina (Lou Ka Choi, 2018)
The story features a family’s life in a distinctive Macao way.
Yesterday (Yankai Chen, 2022)
After the epidemic in Shanghai, the city after opening up has regained its former atmosphere. When I went out, I found that there was almost no trace of the closure of the city for two months. People were “rebellious” to look for the so-called freedom, and such freedom was just to forget those traces.
To be announced soon.
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ABOUT ODYSSEY 2023
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: odysseychinesecinema.uk
Instagram & Twitter Handle: @odysseyccs
Hashtags: #globalsustainability #odyssey2023 #ukchinafilm #peace