Odyssey: a Chinese cinema season – 60+ films in 8 curated sections, 10 discussion panels, exclusive Q&As and 4 awards. A not-to-be-missed festival in the UK to celebrate international cinema!

From 20th to 26th of May 2022, the “Shanghai Animation Film Studio Retroprogramme will bring you four 2K restored animations from the Shanghai Animation Film Studio — Nine-Colored Deer and Little Carp Jumps Over the Dragon Gate from the 1960s, and The Odyssey’s “Shanghai Animation Film Studio Retro” Section is Premiering in the UK with The Legend of Sealed Book Joining as “Surprise Film”!

e Little Stream and The Deer’s Bell from the 1980s — on Shift 72. Furthermore, a feature-length animated film The Legend of Sealed Book (4K Restoration) has been selected to be screened in our “Surprise Film” section, which will be released on the 1st of June online as a celebration and special tribute to the International Children’s Day at Odyssey. 

The Shanghai Animation Film Studio (SAFS) has witnessed the development of Chinese animation and the vicissitudes of Chinese society. Officially established in 1957, it has to date produced around 500 films with over 40,000 minutes of original animation data, covering 80% of China’s domestic animation production. Its lengthy history interlocks between politics and the ever-changing economy. SAFS has won 69 domestic and 73 international awards. Its works like The Monkey King: Havoc in Heaven (1961, 1964) and Nezha Conquers the Dragon King (1979) were internationally applauded and pioneered the narration of Chinese stories. We had the honour to screen these two titles in their highest restored resolution at our festival last year. 

This year Odyssey features five classic works from SAFS, inviting audiences worldwide to rekindle the glory and beauty of Chinese animation from the 20th Century. In the “Shanghai Animation Film Studio Retrosection, Nine-Colored Deer  (1981) was born out of 20,000 manuscripts with a unique style of murals from the Northern Wei Dynasty. The production team spent 23 days in the Mogao Grottoes to capture the charm of traditional Chinese art on the screen. Adapted from a folk tale, Little Carp Jumps Over the Dragon Gate (1958) is known as a founding work of Chinese animation. It won the Silver Award at the 1st Moscow International Film Festival and the Best Art Film Award at the 1st Hundred Flowers Awards. Born in the heyday of Chinese art cinema, The Little Stream (1962) records an era’s political outlook and optimistic spirit. Written by renowned screenwriter Sang Hu, The Deer’s Bell (1982) lacks no subtlety yet has a bold design of action and colours. It embodies a crucial concept in Chinese cultural traditions — the union of heaven and human. 

For the “Surprise Film” section, as a milestone in Chinese mythological animation, The Legend of Sealed Book  (1983/2021) has a twisted plot and diverse characters, combining national culture like woodblock prints, opera, sculptures, folk toys, and ethnic musical instruments with Western elements like symphony and electronic music. The 4K restoration gives new life to tens of thousands of original drawings, making it a perfect choice for a spring getaway to relive one’s childhood memories.

From 8:00 am UK time on the 1st of May, Odyssey launched an online pre-sale, single film and special passes can now be purchased via the festival’s official website – odysseychinesecinema.uk. The festival offers a range of options, including festival full pass, section pass as well as a standard single film rental to meet different needs. Hosted by Shift 72, the festival’s official platform is now live,  users can register an account, to preview trailers and access other information about all of the selected films.

 

Nine-Colored Deer (2K Restoration)

UK Premiere

Directed by: Jiajun Qian / Tielang Dai

Cast: Jianhua Ding / Chengchun Yang / Xiaohua Cheng

Country: China

Genre: Animation

Production Year: 1981

Running Time: 24 mins

Recommended Rating:  U

Synopsis

Nine-Colored Deer is based on the story of the mural Deer King Jataka in cave 257 of the Mogao Caves in Dunhuang. In the form of Dunhuang murals, the film presents itself in the style of ancient Chinese Buddhist paintings, and tells the story of the Nine-Colored Deer who often helps people in difficulty. After being rescued by the Nine-Colored Deer, a snake charmer reveals his saviour’s identity to the King. However, the Nine-Colored Deer manages to evade danger with his magic powers, and the snake charmer receives the retribution he deserves. This legendary story and the film’s aesthetic image have become the childhood memories of many Chinese people. The film also promotes the traditional Chinese arts and uniquely uses Chinese opera music and folk music, and its elegance has obtained popularity among a wide audience.

Book your place here.

 

Little Carp Jumps Over the Dragon Gate (2K Restoration)

UK Premiere

Directed by: Yumen He

Produced by: Yumen He

Country: China

Genre: Animation

Production Year: 1958

Running Time: 18 mins

Recommended Rating: U

 Synopsis

Based on the Chinese folk tale of “the carp jumping over the Dragon Gate,” this short film tells a story of the carp grandmother telling the little carps a tale about their ancestors jumping over the Dragon Gate. Under the leadership of the largest black carp, the little carps set out to find the Dragon Gate without telling their grandma.

Book your place here.

 

 

The Little Stream (2K Restoration)

UK Premiere

Directed by: Yumen He

Written by: Kai Hong

Country: China

Genre: Animation

Production Year: 1962

Running Time: 22 mins

Recommended Rating: U

Synopsis

The film is adapted from the song “Song of The Little Stream” by Yan Wenjing. In the story, there is a lovely little girl, Little Stream, whose blue dress waves in the wind when she dances and turns into water. Little Stream flows through the golden rice fields with her vigorous energy in the spring sunshine. However, the withered tree and dry grass tell her that she shouldn’t tire herself out, and the raven also tries to discourage her with its words. The stone tries to stop her, and the sand tries to hold her back. They all want her to stay. Yet, Little Stream chooses not to listen to any of them. She runs to the river and to the sea; she turns the wheel of the mill and sends away the raft, helps the ship in the river, and brings light to the hydroelectric generator; she keeps going and never stops.

Book your place here.

 

The Deer’s Bell (2K Restoration)

UK Premiere

Directed by: Cheng Tang / Qiang Wu

Country: China

Genre: Animation

Production Year: 1982

Running Time: 19 mins

Recommended Rating: U

Synopsis

The Deer’s Bell is a Chinese animated film styled with traditional Chinese ink painting, produced by Shanghai Animation Film Studio in 1982. The film is based on the beautiful legend of White Deer Grotto, directed by Tang Cheng and Wu Qiang, and written by Sang Hu. The film is about an old herb farmer’s granddaughter saving a young deer from an eagle when collecting herbs. Thereafter, the young deer and the little girl build a deep bond while living together; later, when the young deer finds its parents and decides to go away with them, the little girl ties her bell around the young deer’s neck. This story shows how humans and wild animals can build a deep connection.

Book your place here.

 

Surprise Film: The Legend of Sealed Book (4K Restoration)

UK Premiere

Directed by: Shuchen Wang / Lei Bao / Yunda Qian 

Produced by: Qingji Li

Cast: Jianhua Ding / Ke Bi / Xiu Su

Country: China

Genre: Animation

Production Year: 1983 / 2021 (4K Restoration)

Running Time: 100 mins

Recommended Rating: PG

Synopsis

Yuangong, the deacon, opened the shrine and exposed the holy book to the human world. He also carved the contents of the book on the stone wall of white cloud cave in the mountains. He is now punished to guard the book for life by the jade emperor for breaking heaven’s law and betraying the holy secret of keeping the book hidden from humans. In order to pass this holy book to human beings, he would have to get by the antagonist fox.

Book your place here.

 


About Odyssey

Odyssey aims to empower a shared appreciation of film, to create an inclusive cinematic experience, and to encourage cross-cultural understanding. From 10th May to 10th June 2022, with more than 40 films in 8 curated sections, 10 panel discussions and many inspiring Q&A sessions, we will bring you a whole month of outstanding and innovative Chinese cinema that promises to illuminate your mind. The festival will not only introduce the latest young Chinese film talents to the UK audience, but also provide forums for professionals to exchange creativity and business ideas.

Odyssey will take place in a hybrid format in 2022. The opening film screening will be hosted in person by our venue partner, the Picturehouse Cinemas, in London and Edinburgh on 10th May with a reception. Most of the programme will be available online for all audiences across the country, and we will also organise several pop-up special cinema screenings throughout. The online festival platform of Odyssey will be powered by Shift 72.

ODYSSEY’S HEADLINE SPONSOR

 

Who is our Headline Sponsor this year? – Your most reliable renting company in London!

Azad Ayub Limited is a multi-national award-winning property management and development company, founded by investor, entrepreneur and philanthropist Azad Ayub who has a background in international civil engineering. The company owns and manages properties in North London and has been providing high-quality houses to its clients for over 30 years. Recently the company’s portfolio has expanded to Spain, Pakistan and the USA.

Apart from his property business, Azad has been generously giving back to society as a reputable philanthropist. He is a keen supporter of some of the most prestigious charities in the UK, including Able Child Africa, Lord Mayor’s Appeal Charity, Television for the Environment (Trustee), Royal Institute (Patron) and many more.

We would like to thank Mr Azad Ayub for his generous support toward our Odyssey journey.

Related Information

Keep yourself updated with our upcoming exciting programme announcements by following our social media accounts!

Festival Date: 10th May – 10th June 2022
Format: Offline in London, Edinburgh, and Online via Shift 72
Presented by UK-China Film Collab
Festival Website: odysseychinesecinema.uk
Festival Instagram & Twitter: odysseyccs

For Press Enquiry Please Contact

Liao Zhang

Lead of Public Relations
Email: [email protected]
WeChat: LZ_Gloria