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Odyssey: a Chinese cinema season is developed and refined from a joint initiative in 2021, co-presented by three different partners. The current edition of this hybrid Chinese film festival has been rebranded to ‘Odyssey’ to continue the adventure in 2022, presented by UK-China Film Collab solely.

This page is created to archive and acknowledge the first founding edition of the festival.

Produced by Trinity CineAsia, Filming East and UK-China Film Collab, the Chinese Cinema Season was an online film screening event lasting for three months (12 Feb to 23 May 2021). It was the first online festival specialising in Chinese language films in the UK and Ireland. Showcasing more than 50 films, hosting 9 discussion panels and many Q&As, Chinese Cinema Season offered a fast and unprecedented access to the best Chinese cinema during the COVID-19 lockdown period.

2021 Chinese Cinema Season Programme

Shanghai Animation Film Studio Retro

The Shanghai Animation Film Studio Retro section will showcase 10 Chinese animation classics dated from the 1950s to the present, such as The Monkey King: Havoc in Heaven (1961). Viewers will have a unique opportunity to learn about the tradition of Chinese animation, since all films shown in this programme are hand-drawn and made, which brings a sense of warmness that is missing in contemporary computer-generated animation.

Approaching Reality

The Approaching Reality programme shows six new documentaries focusing on different sides of Chinese society and Chinese culture: family and marriage, geographical landscape, minority youth groups, and the international diaspora female figure.

Lou Ye Mini Retro

The Lou Ye’s Mini-Retrospective programme features internationally acclaimed classic titles by Chinese arthouse director Lou Ye and the UK premiere of The Shadow Play. Lou Ye, known as the Sixth-Generation director of Chinese cinema, is one the European film festival circuit’s most valued international auteurs. Dreamy and innovative narration are often the signatures to Lou’s films, which have regularly premiered at Cannes, Berlin, Rotterdam Film Festivals and many more.

Debut Spotlight

This section introduces contemporary Chinese directors and their striking debuts. Three films are shown in the opening month: A First Farewell (2018) by Lina Wang, The Crossing (2018) by Bai Xue, and The Silent Holy Stone (2006) by Pema Tseden. Encompassing Mandarin, Cantonese, Tibetan and Uyghur dialects and cultures, these films reflect how diverse life can be in the different regions of China.

Domestic Hits

In recent years the world has witnessed the rise of the Chinese mega-blockbuster and the seemingly unstoppable rise of the film industry in China. In this section we have selected some commercial films that triumphed at the domestic box-office with relatively high production value.

Hong Kong, Reimagined

The Hong Kong Reimagined is an ambitious programme which aims to spark constructive public debate about the special administrative region, being curated by UK-China Film Collab, co-organiser of the festival with support from Academy of Film, Hong Kong Baptist University. This programme can not only showcase contemporary talents, classics, hidden gems and new releases from the region, but also present Hong Kong at different points in time.

Discussion Panels & Q&As

Nine free discussion panels covering a wide range of industry and cultural topics are organized by the UK-China Film Collab alongside the season to enrich its programme, including four panels like “International Reception of Chinese Language Films by Post-Millenials” and “British East/Southeast Asian Women in Film and TV” for former half of the season, and five further discussion panels afterwards, such as “Film Data and Policy Between the UK & China” and “The Future of Co-production Film Between the UK & China”.

All recordings are available here.