“A magnificently layered historical epic” (NYTimes)
One of China’s most innovative, critically acclaimed and entertaining artists/filmmakers gives us an insight into China from the 1920s to the 1980s through the eyes of Qiu Yu, a Sichuan opera clown based on the director’s own famous grandfather. Demons from the underworld finally catch up with Qiu and suggest that it is time to go. In amongst hands of mah-jongg and bowls of soup, he has time to review the past, from the Republican era of the 1920s, through the struggles against the Japanese, the Civil War, the disasters of the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution. The epic historical sweep of this film, combined with its brilliant theatrical stylisation suggests that we are all actors in the outlandish piece of theatre we call history. Winner of the special jury prize at the Locarno festival, this has been acclaimed for its fresh, imaginative approach.
“At once tragedy and farce, it breathes new life into a story as old as civilization” (NY Times)
“I have rejected any tedious speculation, or supercilious detachment, in favor of lively, unabashed good humor and fun” (Qiu Jiong-jiong)
“a pleasure, frequently humorous and always tender” (Cineuropa)
Special Jury Prize, Locarno