Chinese Visual Festival Returns to UK Cinemas from July 15-25

The 10th Chinese Visual Festival (CVF) will be held in London 15 – 25 July at BFI Southbank and Genesis Cinema. The UK’s only festival dedicated to the cinema of the Chinese language speaking world, this year’s event sees a highly anticipated return to in-person screenings for CVF, giving audiences the chance to catch a carefully curated selection of fantastic films on the big screen where they belong. This year’s line-up features a programme of unprecedented variety, covering a wide range of genres, forms and subjects, welcoming movie lovers back to cinemas with ten days of unmissable films. CVF 2021 is supported by the Department of Film Studies, King’s College London and the Taipei Representative Office in the U.K. and the Ministry of Culture, Taiwan (R.O.C.).


This year’s festival opens with the UK Premiere of Drifting, from Hong Kong writer director Jun Li, whose ground-breaking trans drama Tracey screened to great acclaim at CVF in 2019. Based on a real life incident, the film is a gritty drama exploring the plight of Hong Kong’s homeless, and is already winning praise on the international festival circuit, confirming Jun Li as a passionate filmmaker committed to bringing the stories of marginalised people to the screen. The festival closes with the UK Premiere of Shadows, a riveting psycho-thriller starring Stephy Tang that has been hailed as one of the best Hong Kong films of the year, revolving around a sinister murder case in which a social worker is compelled by an inner voice to kill his family and commit suicide. The two films screen as part of Focus Hong Kong, and the festival also features a special screening of Johnnie To’s masterful 2003 noir police thriller PTU.

Get the Hell Out

CVF 2021 also sees the return of our popular Vision Taiwan programme, supported by the Taipei Representative Office in the U.K. and the Ministry of Culture, Taiwan (R.O.C.) and celebrating the creativity and diversity of Taiwanese cinema. For the relaunch of Vision Taiwan, the festival screens two of the most exciting Taiwanese films of the year, the highly acclaimed queer Shakespeare reworking As We Like It, a visually stunning, lighthearted film featuring an all-female cast, and the bloody, high-energy horror satire Get the Hell Out, in which the Taiwanese parliament is overrun by an infectious zombie virus.

The Two Lives of Ermao

CVF continues its commitment to screening a diverse range of films from the Chinese language LGBTQ+ community, this year in partnership with our friends at Queer East, and as well as As We Like It, the line-up includes The Two Lives of Ermao, directed by Jia Yuchuan and produced by Kiki Tianqi Yu, Yu Haibo and André Singer. The acclaimed film is an intimate doc following the life of a transgender migrant worker and performer in China over 17 years in search for love and acceptance. The festival also features a special online event hosted by King’s College London, with a roundtable discussion on queer and trans Chinese language cinema and a screening programme of LGBTQI+ shorts, including new works from acclaimed directors Fan Popo and Kit Hung.

Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue

The rest of the programme features a selection of the very best Chinese language films of the last year, including Love Poem, a sharply scripted indie which has been winning comparisons to Korean auteur Hong Sang-soo as well as a growing list of awards, and Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue, the first documentary from master filmmaker Jia Zhangke in ten years, exploring modern Chinese history and society through literature.

Tickets for the 2021 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.

Tickets for all screenings at Genesis Cinema are available via the Genesis website.