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TIFF celebrates Chinese culture

Christopher Doyle [pictured] will be one of the stars of TIFF Bell Lightbox’s A Century Of Chinese Cinema event, set to run in Toronto from Jun 5-Aug 11.

The programme will open with Chen Kaige’s Farewell My Concubine and features 80 films, free exhibitions and guests including Johnnie To and Jackie Chan.

The initiative, founded on a partnership between China Film Archive, the Hong Kong Film Archive and the Chinese Taipei Film Archive, includes new, digitally restored or archival 35mm prints of films that chart the shared cultural and historical heritage of the Mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Screenings will include silent era classics such as Laborer’s Love and Red Heroine alongside Golden Age standards like The Goddess and Spring In A Small Town.

Genre films include A Better Tomorrow and The 36th Chamber Of Shaolin as well as new post-Cultural Revolution voices such as Red Sorghum and Boat People and contemporary favourites In The Mood For Love and Still Life.

A Century Of Chinese Cinema highlights include a major new commission by artist Yang Fudong presented with two new installations by Doyle. Fudong’s debut feature An Estranged Paradise will screen as part of the TIFF Cinematheque Free Screen series, while Doyle will present a special performance as part of the show’s opening weekend.

Besides his Palme d’Or winner Farewell My Concubine, Kaige will introduce his debut feature Yellow Earth and take part in an on-stage conversation.

Chan returns to Toronto to introduce works from his past as well as a preview of the upcoming Police Story 2013. Johnnie To will also take part in an on-stage conversation, while producer Nansun Shi will discuss A Better Tomorrow and A Chinese Ghost Story.

The scholar David Bordwell discusses martial arts film and actresses Nora Miao and Ivy Ling Po are scheduled to introduce, respectively, Fist Of Fury and The Love Eterne.

A Century Of Chinese Cinema exemplifies TIFF’s vision to foster new relationships and build bridges of cultural exchange,” said TIFF director and CEO Piers Handling. “If we are, indeed, living in the Chinese Century, it is essential that we attempt to understand what that entails. There is no better way to do so than through film, which encourages cross-cultural understanding in our city and beyond.”

“With Chinese cinema in the international spotlight, an examination of the history and development of the region’s amazing artistic output is long overdue,” said TIFF Bell Lightbox artistic director Noah Cowan, who made the announcement on Monday [6]. “The unprecedented scale and depth of this programme should help make up for that lost time.”

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