Chinese Visual Festival is partnering with the BFI for a series of screenings at BFI Southbank, London for Chinese New Year on Saturday 28th February. There will be two sessions of the very best in independent Chinese-language documentary cinema.
The opening film Blossom with Tears, which was awarded the prestigious documentary prize by UNICEF, follows the grueling regime of young children in acrobatic training. An exceptionally moving story, the documentary unflinchingly draws attention to the severe realities that children in some parts of China are subjected to.
The spotlight then turns to Taiwan, firstly with the entertaining short documentary Crazy Calligraphy, following an eccentric artist called Kesan, who has devoted his life to reviving the dying art of Chinese calligraphy.
The first session closes with the stunning documentary A Rolling Stone from director Ko-Shang Shen, described by The Wall Street Journal as “A Rain Man for Taiwan” and as “a uniquely bracing film”. An absorbing, atmospheric and occasionally dark study of parental love and obsession, the deeply humanistic film follows a father struggling to take care of and confront his autistic 30 year old son.
The second session of the day features Zheng Kuo’s award winning documentary The Cold Winter, which highlights the struggle of artists near Beijing’s famous Art Zone as they try to protect their land in the face of threats and violence. The film includes high profile art rebel Ai Weiwei and some fascinatingly ambitious and creative protests, and offers rare access to the artists themselves. Zheng Kuo takes a fair and objective view, and through often unflattering portraits of the artists and their actions, he explores not only the ills of bureaucracy, but the role of democracy in the so-called ‘harmonious society’ of China.
There will also be some exciting announcements about the 2015 festival which will open on May 8th 2015 in London.