Protest film on Dalai Lama also scheduled

A strong trio of new films from China is set to grace the 28th Annual Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival, opening Thursday, Apr. 15 for a two-week run at St. Anthony Main Theatre,125 Main St. SE, Minneapolis, MN through Apr. 30.

The 28th Annual Minneapolis / St. Paul International Film Festival slates 3 new prize-winning Chinese films

Protest film on Dalai Lama also scheduled

A strong trio of new films from China is set to grace the 28th Annual Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival, opening Thursday, Apr. 15 for a two-week run at St. Anthony Main Theatre,125 Main St. SE, Minneapolis, MN through Apr. 30.

This biggest film event of the year in the Upper Midwest will include more than 130 feature films from more than 50 countries.

Close to home, the controversial film on Tibetan exiles in India featuring the Dalai Lama’s role in a political compromise with China, The Sun Behind the Clouds, is also scheduled. Protests from the state-run Chinese government over a January showing at Palm Springs Fest went unheeded.

Special sidebars will include a “culinary” section on films about food, a juried competition of first-and-second international features, American independents and “Minnesota-made” films in addition to a dozen Pacific Rim and Asian selections.
Like the rest of China, movie box office has been booming with growth of screens, especially in big cities and shopping malls, and less government control of production, and comedies now being among favorite genres.

Three festival styles, the stalwart black comedy, the family drama and the sensitive social documentary (the look captured by a Chinese outsider from Canada), will give local festival audiences a peek behind the silken curtain again at one of the world’s fastest growing national cinemas: mainland China. 

Though a drop in the bucket out of an annual production of more than 400 features, the fest sampler still captures significant portraits and trends for audiences hungry for new insights beyond the daily headlines and media news bites.

Presented by Minnesota Film Arts, a non-profit arts group founded as The University Film Society in 1962, the following Chinese-language films are scheduled (films are in Mandarin, with English subtitles): 

film_the_cowTHE COW (Dou Niu)—Witty black comedy about a stubborn peasant’s somewhat strange relationship with a cow, when, pursued by bandits and other hardships during the Second World War, its resourceful, bozo-faced protagonist, portrayed by Huang Bo (Chinese commercial cinema’s most popular actor) as the Chinese common man, must face survival from invading Japanese forces.  Magical realist storytelling from popular TV director Guan Hu, who assigns his simple-minded peasant the duty of saving the village’s most prized possession, an imported Dutch dairy cow.

film_last_train_homeLAST TRAIN HOME (Lixin Fan)—An emotionally engaging and visually beautiful debut from Chinese-Canadian director Lixin Fan chronicles the fractured lives of a single migrant family caught up in a desperate annual migration. Sixteen years ago, the Zhangs left their young children to find work in the city with the belief that their wages would afford their children a better life. In a bitter irony, the Zhangs’ hopes for the future are undone by their very absence, as their daughter Qin, who has entered adolescence crippled by a sense of abandonment, has dropped out of school to become a migrant worker. Last Train Home follows the Zhangs’ attempts to change their daughter’s course and repair their broken family. Intimate and candid, the film paints a human portrait of the dramatic changes sweeping China. Nomination of the Grand Jury Award at the 2010 Sundance Festival. 

THE SHAFT (Dixia de Tiankong)—Set in a poor mining town in western China, the stories of a father and his two children intersect in complicated relationships over his attractive daughter’s forced acceptance into an arranged marriage, while her brother, dreaming of a singer’s life, reluctantly heads for the mines. In a film critics called “poetic and wise,” their difficult existence finds the father himself spending his days searching for his wife, who left him many years ago. Director Zhang Chi, 42, took the top Golden Rooster Award for Best Screenplay for film Tokyo Trial. This film, his feature debut, will be in a juried competition for first and second films.

Also from Tibet
film_summer_pasture_locho_sunsetSUMMER PASTURE—From 15,000 feet up, a young family of nomads spends the summer in Tibet’s 8,000-year-old  Kham region. Their treasured animals allow them to eke out a living amid the alpine grass where crops cannot grow. Directors Lynn True and Nelson Walker have been invited to attend. 

Full festival synopses, titles, discount tickets (Seniors, Students can get a five-coupon pass for as little as US$30) can be found on the fest Web site, For information, call 612-331-7563or e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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