Winter Vacation (Hanjia)
Directed by Li Hongqi with Bai Junjie, Zhang Naqi, Bao Jinfeng
2010, China In a wintry industrial town in Inner Mongolia, a group of adolescent slackers listlessly loiter on the last day of their two-week holiday. Poet-filmmaker Li Hongqi’s deadpan comedy, slowed by its characters’ boredom to a pace of absurd poetry, wrings laughter from hopelessness and frustration; while the teenagers bicker over the value of school and the vagaries of teenage love, a young boy trapped in a domestic battle with his grandfather, who won’t let him play outside, proposes running away with a little girl so that they can be orphans. Faced with the alternative, it’s a sensible dream. With this, his third feature—and winner of the top prize at the Locarno International Film Festival—Li is now positioned at the forefront of independent Chinese cinema. Co-presented with the Asian Cultural Center Boston and SinoVision. Special thanks to Rachel Song Yang.
Red Chameleon Award (Top Prize), Cinema Digital Seoul Festival; KNF Award for Best Film Without Distribution, Rotterdam International Film Festival; Golden Leopard (Top Prize) and FIPRESCI Prize, Locarno International Film Festival. Official Selection: New Directors/New Films 2011, London International Film Festival, Mar del Plata International Film Festival, Vancouver International Film Festival.
“With the concentrated power of late Beckett, Winter Vacation very slowly unfolds against the wintery backdrop of a dull town… [The film’s] rigorous widescreen HD cinematography transfigures the cold characterless exteriors into mesmerizing if forlorn tableaux and, in its treatment of interior space, reflects a pervading sense of emotional deprivation and existential hollowness. With a masterful mix of philosophical pessimism and dark humor, all delivered by local non-professional actors, Winter Vacation responds to the failures of human interaction with a [disturbing] laughter.” –J. P. Sniadecki, Cinema Scope
July inaugurates Festival Focus, an annual celebration of select international films, winners of awards and critical acclaim at major festivals in the previous year. We hope you share our excitement in bringing to Boston the most talked about titles of 2010, many of which have also appeared on the “Best of 2010” polls of prominent film magazines such as Film Comment, Sight and Sound, and Cinema Scope. In a climate where distinctive cinematic visions fight to be heard over the hum of mainstream Hollywood, Festival Focus strives to support both the filmmakers at the vanguard of 21st century cinema and the audiences seeking out the new, the bold and the original.
July 23 @ 7pm
Bright Family Screening Room
$10. $7.50 for Members & Seniors. $5 for Students.
Color, Digital Video
Mandarin with English subtitles