Winter Vacation (Han Jia)

LI Hongqi. China, 2010. Narrative, 91 minutes.
Mandarin w/ English subtitles.

“No other director can touch poet-novelist Li Hongqi.” – Tony Rayns, BFI
“At the forefront of independent Chinese cinema.” – J.P. Sniadecki, Cinemascope
“Captivating!” – Berenice Reynaud, Senses of CinemaIn this acclaimed absurdist comedy, bored teenagers and disillusioned adults rage at each other and the emptiness of life in frost-bitten northern China.It’s the last day of winter vacation in Inner Mongolia. Four aimless adolescents enjoy their last hours of freedom drifting between the barren spaces of their small town. They make surreal visits to homes of family and friends, including an unhappy little boy who dreams of becoming an orphan to escape the tyranny of his family. A prevailing absurdity casts over their lives as they endure petty instances of bullying while arguing over the purpose of school, teenage love, and life in general. Eventually they return to the routines of school life, only to witness an epic meltdown from their teacher in the midst of a lesson.Winner of the Golden Leopard for Best Film at the Locarno Film Festival, the third film by poet-novelist Li Hongqi announces him as a major figure in China’s independent cinema. Targeting the nonsensical undertones of modern Chinese society, Li unleashes a mercilessly deadpan humor that’s as biting as the film’s wintry landscape. The film’s “rigorously composed scenes” (Berenice Reynaud, Senses of Cinema) showcase Li as “a remarkable visual stylist… in full command of his art” (Andrew Chan, MUBI). “There is not a single superfluous action nor unnecessary cut(Thom Andersen, Film Comment).

Director’s Bio: Li Hongqi

Reviews:

Select Film Festivals:

  • WINNER, Golden Leopard, Locarno Film Festival
  • WINNER, Critics Prize, Locarno Film Festival
  • WINNER, Red Chameleon Award, Cinema Digital Seoul Festival
  • OFFICIAL SELECTION, Rotterdam International Film Festival
  • OFFICIAL SELECTION, London International Film Festival
  • OFFICIAL SELECTION, New Directors New Films
  • OFFICIAL SELECTION, Vancouver International Film Festival
  • OFFICIAL SELECTION, Melbourne International Film Festival

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