China Film Festival: a look behind the veil


If you can’t go to China, China comes to Leipzig.

"The Road" film still
“The Road” film still

The China Film Festival’s 4th edition (themed 拆 chai, or “demolition”) will play in town this Thursday through Saturday (9 to 11 Feb). Its organizers hope to offer “a guide for contemporary Chinese society and culture, for forms and trends.”

"Hooligan Sparrow" film still. Courtesy of fest coordinator
“Hooligan Sparrow” film still

While we may be exposed to China a lot in the media and even through elements and people we encounter along the way, many of us know little about life there in practice. The fest seeks to lift the veil and provide the audience insights through “a raw, uncensored and enlightening look” into the superpower “with all its facets.”

The 拆 fest takes place at die naTo in Südvorstadt. It will showcase short and feature-length documentaries as well as animated and feature films by Chinese and foreign filmmakers engaging with Chinese topics.

It’s an intense 3-day cinema marathon.

The local Confucius Institute supports and coordinates the festival, whose films can be critical of Chinese society and even policies. Some directly expose instances of corruption and persecution.

Films being shown range from the evils of modernization (“The Road” and “My Land”), to risk-laden, state-persecuted social activism (“Hooligan Sparrow”) and the obstacles LGBT Chinese face (“Pink Dads” and “Inside the Chinese Closet”), to landscape journeys and lighter topics presented in a visually poetic way.

"What's in the Darkness" film still
“What’s in the Darkness” film still

Die naTo will show the fest films in the original version with English subtitles.

China film fest lineup:

Thu, 9 Feb

– Lunar Dial (Animation, 15 min)
– The Road (Documentary, 95 min)

Fri, 10 Feb

– Ciao Ciao (Animation, 5:35 min)
– Gtsngbo/River (Feature film, 94 min)

– Pink Dads (Documentary, 20 min)
– Inside the Chinese Closet (Documentary, 72 min)

– Fish Tank (Animation, 5:59 min)
– Hooligan Sparrow (Documentary, 83 min)

"Inside the Chinese Closet" film still. Courtesy of fest coordinator
“Inside the Chinese Closet” film still

Sat, 11 Feb

– The Poem (Animation, 6:14 min)
– What’s in the Darkness (Feature film, 100 min)

– This is Pan Tao (Documentary, 8:28 min)
– My Land (Documentary, 81 min)

– Ta’ang (Documentary, 147 min)

"My Land" film still. Courtesy of fest coordinator
“My Land” film still

Film descriptions are available in English and German on die naTo’s website.

Entry: 6,50 € normal / 5 € reduced / 20 € Festival ticket

拆 chai film fest on FB

Feature photo: Film still from “River,” courtesy of Malina Becker (festival coordinator, Confucius Institute). Becker provided all the photos in this article.

A Global Studies doctoral degree holder and former newspaper reporter, avid eater, pseudo-philosopher and poet, occasion-propelled singer, semi-professional socializer, movie addict, Brazilian-American nomad. In this space, she will share some of her experiences and (mis)adventures regarding various topics, with special attention to social issues.

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