Together with independent distributor Trinity CineAsia and Filming East Festival, the UK-China Film Collab announce the first wave of titles and sections for the first edition of the Chinese Cinema Season.
Launching for three months from 12 February (Chinese New Year), it will be the biggest online screening event that specialises in Chinese language films in the UK and Europe. The season will showcase Chinese language films never seen before in the UK and highlight overlooked gems to cinema-lovers in the UK and Ireland.
The Shanghai Animation Film Studio Retro section will showcase 10 Chinese animation classics dated from the 1950s to the present. All films have recently been remastered to the highest quality (2K) and will appear in the UK for the very first time. SAFS is the oldest and the most respected animation studio in China.
While animation fans in the West are more familiar with Japan’s Studio Ghibli, it in fact owes its inspiration to Chinese animation tradition. The master Hayao Miyazaki visited the Shanghai studio in 1984, before he set up his own a year later. Throughout the years, many in China have invited the master to deliver classes, but he always refused, saying “I don’t have anything to teach, you have the best studio in Shanghai. It is I that have to learn from the Shanghai studio.”
Iconic titles in this programme include The Monkey King: Havoc in Heaven (1961). Based on the well-known novel Journey to the West, taking almost four years to complete, its 3D restored version has been chosen to be the opening film at the Shanghai International Film Festival in 2019. The artistic and technical standard demonstrated by The Monkey King is extremely high; one that is yet to be met by other adaptation attempts since the 1960s. There will also be the opportunity to watch the original version of Ne Zha Conquers The Dragon King (1979) for the first time in the UK. BBC 2 aired the film in 1984 with an English dub, different soundtrack and credited the film as the work of a different director. Chinese Cinema Season is delighted to present the original version alongside a Q+A with the last surviving director of this influential classic.
Viewers will have a unique opportunity to learn about the tradition of Chinese animation which is aesthetically distinctive and certainly different from Disney. Art enthusiasts will appreciate traditional art techniques used in these films such as water-ink and papercutting. All films shown in this programme are hand-drawn and made, which brings a sense of warmness that is missing in contemporary computer-generated animation.
FISHING CHILD (1959, 30 mins) *UK PREMIERE*
WHERE IS MAMA? (1960, 15 mins) *UK PREMIERE*
MONKEY KING: HAVOC IN HEAVEN (1961, 92 mins) *UK PREMIERE OF ORIGINAL VERSION*
THE COWBOY FLUTE (1963, 15 mins) *UK PREMIERE*
GOLDEN CONCH (1963, 35 mins) *UK PREMIERE*
NE ZHA CONQUERS THE DRAGON KING (1979, 65 mins) *UK PREMIERE OF ORIGINAL VERSION*
THE STORY OF MR NANGUO (1981, 18 mins) *UK PREMIERE*
FEELING FROM MOUNTAIN AND WATER (1988, 20 mins) *UK PREMIERE*
LOTUS LANTERN (1999, 85 mins) *UK PREMIERE*
BLACK CAT DETECTIVE/MR. BLACK (2010, 76 mins) *UK PREMIERE*
To celebrate the Chinese New Year on February 12, Chinese Cinema Season will also show a 15-minute documentary about the history of Shanghai Animation Film Studio, free for audiences from around the world to view. The family-friendly nature of this programme makes it an ideal online celebration for the Year of the Ox.
To accompany this programme, we are also organising a free discussion panel “Tradition and Innovation in Chinese Animation” with very special guests joining us from Shanghai Animation Film Studio. (26 Feb 2021 | 12:00 GMT)