Preview – Chinese Visual Festival 2018, May 3-6

The 8th Chinese Visual Festival (CVF) will be held in London from May 3-6 at BFI Southbank and King’s College London. This year’s Festival builds on the success of previous editions, bringing the very best in the cinema of the Chinese language speaking world to UK audiences in a programme of unprecedented variety crammed into one unmissable extended weekend.

This year, CVF welcomes celebrated director Cheung King-wai from Hong Kong. Known for his documentaries The Taste of Youth and KJ: Music and Life and screenwriting credits including Ann Hui’s Night and Fog, Cheung will be presenting the UK Premiere of his fiction feature debut Somewhere Beyond the Mist, a stunning slow-burn crime masterpiece based on a shocking murder case. Starring Stephy Tang, who shreds her pop-princess image with a raw and mature performance, the film has won a series of awards and nominations, including multiple wins at the Hong Kong Film Awards.

In CVF’s most varied edition yet, the impressive line-up of cutting edge films also includes the Opening Night Gala screening of Zhou Ziyang’s award-winning debut feature Old Beast, produced by legendry Sixth Generation director Wang Xiaoshuai. The film is a provocative picture of modern China torn by generational differences and a boom and bust economy told through the character of an old man in a desolate town, who spends his time lying, cheating and stealing.

Another highlight is the UK Premiere of the intimate documentary Mrs. Fang, winner of the Golden Leopard at Locarno and the latest film from Wang Bing, widely recognised as one of the most important and talented filmmakers and artists working in China.

Film screenings are complimented by a number of special events, including the conference Critical Voices; Critical Silences: Chinese and Sinophone Film Theory and Criticism at King’s College London, featuring prominent academics and noted film critic and Asian film expert Tony Rayns. The Festival also marks CVF’s third year in partnership with Hong Kong Fresh Wave, with emerging filmmakers visiting from Hong Kong for a screening of selected short films followed by a discussion with the filmmakers alongside industry experts as part of the BFI Southbank’s Future Film strand, aimed at aspiring filmmakers aged 16-25.

CVF continues to champion Chinese language LGBTQ cinema through its Cinema Comrade programme by featuring as our Closing Night Gala the UK Premiere of Alifu the Prince/ss, an entertaining and moving look at the diverse LGBTQ and ethnic faces of Taiwan through the story of Alifu, a young aboriginal man who works at a salon while dreaming of becoming a woman, pressured by his father to take on the mantle of tribal chief. Arriving at a vital time in LGBTQ rights in Asia and the wider world, the film is a stirring tale of love, equality and acceptance through the unique lens of Taiwan’s aboriginal culture.

Cinema Comrade this year also welcomes noted Hong Kong queer filmmaker Kit Hung, known for challenging gay representations and stereotypes. Hung will be presenting a special screening of his award-winning Soundless Wind Chime followed by a discussion about his career and influences.

2018 promises to be the most varied and exciting programme yet for Chinese Visual Festival, underlining the Festival’s growing reputation as a key event in London’s cultural calendar.

Festival Director James Mudge commented, “It’s great to be back for our eighth year and I really think 2018 is our strongest edition yet. As well as all the fantastic premieres and award-winning films we’re giving our audience the rare chance to catch on the big screen, I’m particularly pleased to be welcoming Cheung King-wai to London, whose The Taste of Youth was very popular with CVF audiences and whose KJ: Music and Life remains for me one of the very best modern Chinese documentaries. Somewhere Beyond the Mist sees Cheung successfully make the leap to fiction features, and I think it’s really one of the strongest indie films from Hong Kong for a while. It’s also great to be hosting our second conference and to be working with Hong Kong Fresh Wave again, and I’m looking forward to the discussion generated by the challenging films we’re screening, Old Beast and Mrs. Fang in particular.”

Support for the Hong Kong programmes under CVF, including the visit of Cheung King-wai and Nicole Chan, comes courtesy of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, London.

Tickets for the 2018 Chinese Visual Festival are on sale now. For more details and the full schedule visit the festival website.

Tickets for all screenings at BFI Southbank are available via the BFI website.