Screening Dates
  • May 21, 2023 7:00
  • May 28, 2023 7:00
Vancouver Premiere

A three-hour, Brechtian, mythical dream-logic journey through Chinese history that has caught on like wildfire among New York’s Chinese communities.”

Max Carpenter, Reverse Shot

Qiu Jiongjiong’s breakthrough feature marks the director as a voice to be reckoned with in Chinese independent film. The epic culmination of a decade of work using reenactments and family oral histories to document a passing era of Sichuan theatre, A New Old Play, as its title suggests, playfully lurches between opposing forces. This is a broad historical canvas, yet also the chronology of the singular Qiu Fu, a clown actor at the end of his life. Chinese opera in cinema has long been a vessel for elegiac surveys of vast tracts of history. It’s been put to effective use in films as varied as Xie Jin’s Two Stage Sisters, Alex Law’s Painted Faces, and Chen Kaige’s Farewell My Concubine. Qiu, in familiar yet boldly idiosyncratic ways, takes on this tradition, employing both hand-made production design and planimetric tracking shots to service a deeply personal vision.

In Mandarin with English subtitles

The brightest light in the Chinese independent cinema world at this moment … A celebration of creative popular arts, whose vitality and persistence offer emotional reassurance, ideological provocation, and moral inspiration.”

Shelly Kraicer, Cinema Scope

A film about those ancient tales which transcend the limitations of any individual person—those stories which never seem to go away, despite all attempts to eradicate them, and which come alive, recreated, in the telling.”

Lawrence Garcia, Film Comment

Cagey and inventive … A cleverly contained existential epic.”

Daniel Kasman, MUBI Notebook