Wide-ranging Chinese film and cultural festival program kicks off in Los Angeles
From left, images from Bi Gan's “Long Day's Journey into Night” and Liu Jie's "Baby." (Photos courtesy of the Chinese Onscreen Biennial.)

Wide-ranging Chinese film and cultural festival program kicks off in Los Angeles

The Fourth China Onscreen Biennial launches a month-long program in Los Angeles on October 19, 2018, with a
7:30 p.m. screening of Bi Gan's “Long Day's Journey into Night” at the Billy Wilder Theater of the Hammer Museum.

By Peggy McInerny, Director of Communications

UCLA International Institute, October 19, 2018 — The Fourth China Onscreen Biennial (COB) kicks off a month-long festival of films by an array of well-known Chinese filmmakers, including long-established and young directors today, Friday, October 19, 2018, at the Billy Wilder Theater of the Hammer Museum. COB is produced by its founding sponsor, the UCLA Confucius Institute, with the help of a distinguished curatorial committee and advisory board, together with the support of numerous program cosponsors and presenting partners, including the UCLA Film & Television Archive.

Bookended by the U.S. premieres of the latest films of Bi Gan ("Long Day's Journey into Night," October 19) and Liu Jie ("Baby," November 18), the festival pairs feature-length and short contemporary Chinese films in regular screenings at UCLA’s Billy Wilder Theater and James Bridges Theater. See the screening calendar here.* Special events include a retrospective of the films of noted Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke and cultural programming inspired by the Buddhist cave art of Dunhuang.**

Upon conclusion of the festival in Los Angeles, the film program moves on to Washington, DC, New York, and, in spring 2019, to three cities of Russia.

Designed to promote U.S.-China cultural dialogue, the 2018 festival showcases the premieres (North American, U.S. or West Coast) of the following contemporary films; many directors will be on hand for question-and-answer sessions following the screenings:

Oct. 19:
 “Long Day’s Journey into Night,” directed by Bi Gan
 Oct. 20:  “A Family Tour” (2018), directed by Ying Liang
 Oct. 20: “The Swim” (2017), directed by He Xiangyu
Oct. 21:  “Girls Always Happy” (2018), directed by Yang Mingming
 Oct. 21:  “The Foolish Bird” (2018), directed by Huang Ji and Ryuji Otsuka
 Oct. 26:  “An Elephant Sitting Still,” directed Hu Bo
 Oct. 27:  “We the Workers” (2017), directed by Wen Hai
 Nov. 2, Nov. 10:  “Ash is the Purest White”: (2018), directed by Jia Zhangke***
 Nov. 2:  “Paradox” (2017), Wilson Yip Wai-shun
 Nov. 3:  “River’s Edge” (2017), by director Wang Chao
 Nov. 4:  “The Widowed Witch” (2018), by director Cai Changjie
 Nov 11:  “Dead Souls” (2018), by director Wang Bing
 Nov. 18:   “Baby,” directed by Liu Jie


Scene from Jia Zhangke's "Ash is the Purest White."(Photo courtesy of COB.)

As part of the film festival, a special week-long retrospective of the films of Chinese auteur filmmaker Jia Zhangke — the 2018 China Onscreen Biennial artist-in-residence — will run from November 2 through 10. Zhangke himself will be present for three in-depth conversations with UCLA Professor Michael Barry, including the November 10th screening of his latest film, “Ash is the Purest White” (2018). (Please note, online tickets for this screening sold out; a limited number tickets will available for sale at the Hammer’s Billy Wilder Theater an hour before the screening). 

The “Dunhuang Projected” sidebar program, comprised of musical performances, commissioned media pieces and film screenings that reflect on images, ideas and themes found in the Dunhuang painted caves in China, adds an additional cultural component to the film festival. Specific events will include:

• “Finding Los Angeles’ Dunhuang through Music,” a live music performance by Daniel Ho & Friends on October 17, followed by the West Coast premiere of “Leto” a film by Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov (now under house arrest in Russia).

After the screening, a panel discussion of the film — which is based on a true story of Korean Russian musician — will be led Vladislav Pasternak (film producer of dozens of Russian film hits, including “Mongol” [2007]) and Yanchenko Denis Gennadievich (associate professor, Institute of History, St. Petersburg State University).

Scene from Kirill Serebrennikov's "Leto." (Photo courtesy of COB.)

• “Dunhuang Projected: Artists in Conversation,” an October 28 showing and discussion of short media works that reflect on the Buddhist cave art in Dunhuang, commissioned especially for the Fourth China Onscreen Biennial. Moderated by Anne Bray, the event will feature Chinese diaspora and American artists Erin Cosgrove, Inouk Demers, Nuttaphol Ma, Tsai Charwei and Xie Caomin.

• A performance by master musician He Jinhua on November 3, who will demonstrate and discuss Naxi folk music, followed by a screening of director Wang Chao’s 2018 film, “River’s Edge.” The film was shot on location in southwest China’s Yunnan Province — the home of the Naxi people.

• A screening of the eight-hour “Dead Souls” (2018), director Wang Bing’s exploration of China’s Anti-Rightist Campaign and the Gobi Desert camps of the 1950s, November 11.

The Chinese Onscreen Biennial and its Dunhuang Projected program are the brainchild of Susan Pertel Jain, executive director of the UCLA Confucius Institute. The film and cultural festival is made possible in Los Angeles with the support of a multitude of program sponsors, among them, UCLA’s Chancellor’s Office, School of Arts and Architecture and  Center for Chinese Studies. COB also boasts an impressive range of presenting partners in Los Angeles, including the UCLA Film & Television Archive, Film at REDCAT, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Asia Society Southern California, Asian World Film Festival and AFI FEST presented by Audi.

*Public tickets for the Fourth China Onscreen Biennial can be purchased online through the UCLA Film & Television Archive, or in person at the Hammer Museum one hour before a showing. Screenings at the James Bridges Theater are free. Tickets are free for UCLA students with valid Bruin I.D. card.

**Located in Gansu Province at a major crossroads of the ancient Silk Road trade network, the astounding complex of caves at Dunhuang contained thousands of Buddhist wall paintings, sculptures and manuscripts.

*** See schedule for other films of Jia Zhangke shown as part of a retrospective that runs November 2 through November 11.

Download the full program of the Fourth China Onscreen Biennial below. 

Download file: 2018-China-Onscreen-Biennial_Main-Schedule-6b-zd-a15.pdf