An Evening of Independent Chinese Animation

This year’s Chinese Visual Festival is collaborating with the Chinese Independent Film Festival to bring to the UK their 10th anniversary animation selection, and I went to see it at King’s College in the middle of May.


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Deformity Sci-Fi

残废科幻 (“Can Fei Ke Huan”), quite crudely translated as “Deformity Sci-Fi”, is a peculiar, heady mix, shot in Shanxi, the hometown of up and coming Chinese indie director Jianqiang Xue (a.k.a. Kokoka). It follows the lives and misdemeanors of a gang of lowly thugs as they go about their daily business, arguing, fighting, drinking, collecting money and committing crimes against the backdrop of an imminent alien visitation.


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Special ID

“Undercover cops walking a line between triad loyalty and law and order” is practically the bread and butter of the Hong Kong film industry, from classics like City On Fire, to its imitation in games like Sleeping Dogs.

Here, it is Chan Chi-Lung, played by Donnie Yen, who penetrates the echelons of Hong Kong’s gangster world, after severe reprimanding, as a last ditch attempt at returning to the force . His partner and boss, Captain Cheung (Ronald Cheung) promises to give Chan his “big break”, only after he has helped in solving one last case that would allow Cheung to retire in glory.


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Anime Embraces the King of All Sports! Ping Pong!

This week’s article is a little late, as I’m worse for wear, having attended the anime all-nighter at the Stratford Picture House. There were some really beautiful anime such Patema Inverted and really silly ones such Space Dandy. I had a great time and would love to extend my thanks to everyone at Sci-Fi London.


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Big Shot’s Funeral – Taking a Look at a Big Shot’s Earlier Work

Director Feng Xiao Gang is London at the moment, promoting his new film, “Back to 1942”, probably one of the most high profile pieces he has created, certainly with the biggest budget.


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Fairytale Killer: A Twisted Tale of Heroism and Redemption

Fairytale Killer, released in Asia in May last year, is the work of influential Hong Kong director Danny Pang (Bangkok Dangerous, The Eye), in collaboration with the excellent Thai director, Decha Srimantra (Ong Bak, Chocolate). It stars Sean Lau (Mad Detective, A Life Without Principle), Wang Bao Qiang (Blind Shaft) and star of Pang’s The Child’s Eye, Elanne Kwong.


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Tai Chi Zero & the Rise of Wuxia Steampunk

When I first saw the trailer for Tai Chi Zero last year, I was incredibly impressed and couldn’t wait to see it. Tai Chi Hero, the sequel, was released a month later, October 2012. So far there has been no UK release. On May the 4th, I got to go a one-off showing of the two films in Stratford, courtesy of Terracotta Distribution cross promoting with Sci Fi London, the amazing people who brought the films for showcasing so that English film lovers got a chance to watch it. Tai Chi Zero blew me away. So as well as adding this review to my repertoire of Chinese pop culture articles, I also hope that it will in some way, help with films find a distributor in the UK.


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Vulgaria

Think of touching comic films about sex and pornography, such as John Cameron Mitchell’s Shortbus or Kevin Smith’s Zac and Miri Make a Porno, and then completely ignore them. Acting out more like a National Lampoon parody, with slightly more donkey sex, Vulgaria is a low budget indie comedy directed by Pang Ho-Cheung (Dream Home, Love in a Puff), starring Chapman To (Infernal Affairs, A Simple Life) and Lam Suet (Vengeance, Exiled, PTU), designed to make you cringe or laugh, depending on quite where your comfort zone lies.


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