I've always looked forward to the month of January. Not only because it is the start of a new year but more so because of two other reasons: one, I'd get to do things on a clean slate and in doing so I'd be able to get my act together. And the other reason is, it's time for the Chinese Spring Film Festival again. For those who probably haven't heard of this good news, the Ateneo de Manila University Ricardo Leong Center for Chinese Studies and the Ateneo Celadon have joined hands to make people become more aware of the Chinese artistry and culture through free film screenings via the annual Chinese Spring Film Festival.
Now on its eight year, the Chinese Spring Film Festival is one of the most celebrated festivals in the Chinoy (Chinese-Filipino) community. I'm also happy to note that they have extended their audience reach this year as the 8 Chinese films of the Chinese Spring Festival will now be shown simultaneously in different areas such as in Cebu, Davao, Naga, Dagupan and Baguio apart from Metro Manila.
I came across the Spring Film festival by accident. I went to Shangri-La mall because I came to see a friend who lived nearby and decided to check out the latest items at a specialty store I used to frequent a lot. I passed by the queue at the cineplex and asked around what the line was all about. And that's how I came to know about the Spring film festival. I remember it was through the past Chinese Spring Film Festival that I was able to discover Jet Li (yes, the popular Chinese action star) essaying a father role in a poignant film about autism. It was refreshing to see Jet Li in a drama scene, far from the usual action movies he's known for. Then, last year, I've watched another family-oriented featured film about a father who does everything to please his only daughter and tried his best to save his marriage. He even went to try the extremes just so he could give his daughter a grand piano. I could still vividly recall how heartwarming the storyline was--it really tugs at your heart, hitting your soft spot yet I recall coming out of the Shangri-La Cineplex with a smile as it also had funny moments that made me laugh out loud.
If you haven't tried seeing Chinese Spring Film Festival movies, I'm telling you, you're missing out on a whole lot of fun stuff. I can assure you that you will enjoy all the films regardless of their genre even if you don't understand a single word in Chinese. no worries though, they have English subtitles so it's easy for you to understand them. Here's the Best Part: It's FREE and open to the public. You just have to show up at the cinema counter at least an hour before the actual screening time to get tickets as slots are limited per screening. It's on a first cone, first served basis.
Save the date folks, mark your calendars. The 8th Chinese Spring Festival will be held from January 24 - February 2, 2014 at the Shangri-La Plaza Mall Cineplex in Mandaluyong City as well as in other venues.
For this year, here are the following movie and their Synopsis:
Snowfall in Taipei
May, a singer from mainland China, suddenly lost her voice and had conflicts with Ah Lei, her producer and secret lover. In anger, she came to Old Town of Jingtong where she met Xiao Mo, a warmhearted man. Xiao Mo helped May find a dwelling place, and introduced her to work at a local restaurant. Thanks to their constant contacts, they made a good impression with each other. May found happiness and consolation from the old streets of the small town, and her voice was getting better and better. However, May had left her heart at another place. Gradually, Xiao Mo understood that when one deliberately disappears, one wants to be looked for by others. Along with a sudden appearance of Jack, a muckraking journalist, the situation began to develop towards the uncontrolled direction.
He Zhipeng is a senior student in high school who lives in a big old Beijing hutong yard with his mother and grandmother. He loves parkour, an extremely dangerous sport in most people’s eyes. With his good psychology and physique, he becomes the star player of “City Monkey” parkour club. But his mother strongly disapproves it and hopes he could focus only on his entrance exams to university. Clashes of different concepts, rebellion of the youth, and persistence to the ideal are unavoidable problems for them. What would the two generations do?
Aftershock Tangshan, 1976.
Two seven-year-old twin children are buried under the rubble of the devastating earthquake. The rescue team explains to their mother, Li Yuanni that freeing either child will almost certainly result in the death of the other. She is forced to make the most difficult decision of her life and must choose between her children. Li Yuanni has no idea that her decision is overheard by her daughter Fang Deng, the female twin. Although she has been left behind as dead, the little girl miraculously survives for several more days before being pulled clear by another rescue team who believe that she is simply a corpse. She wakes up in the pouring rain next to the dead body of her father. Suffering from the emotional shocks of the disaster and the painful memory of her mother's choice, Fang Deng refuses to reveal her identity. She is adopted by a middle-aged Chinese couple and years later moves to Canada to marry. Shadowed by the traumatic experiences of the earthquake and devastated by her mother's decision to abandon her, she continues to be emotionally withdrawn throughout her adult years.
Where is My Home
Mrs. Geng is a simple village mother who raised two children on her own. Her son made his way to the city and offers to have her come live with him and his family. Despite the improved material conditions of the city, Mrs. Geng cannot help feeling isolated and lonely. It takes some time for her children to understand how she feels, and they rebuild their family’s affection.
The Go-King and his Son
Liu Yishou, an amateur Go player, is called by his friends “the king of Go”. Liu Yishou has been laid off quite a long time ago and now, with no other skills to make a living, teaches Go in a humble training course for children. Life has been hard, and his wife has decided to divorce him. His young son, Xiaochuan, has chosen to stay with him through his difficulties. On an unexpected occasion, Xiaochuan displayed an amazing talent for Go, and his father vowed to support him to further develop his gift for the game. They confronted challenges, but with courage, persistence and profound love between father and son, they eventually arrived at the destination towards which they were heading.
As the country enters the new century, China is facing a crisis. Two warring factions have emerged, starvation amongst the citizens is rampant and political reforms have made matters worse. The seven year old Emperor and his mother, Empress Dowager Longyu (Joan Chen), are out of sync with people’s needs after 250 years of total power. As Huang Xing (Jackie Chan) arrives from his studies on modern warfare in Japan, he finds himself picking up his sword to lead a rebellion against the powerful Qing Dynasty and the New Army.
Let’s Fall in Love
Tan Momo, who showed his natural gift in music in his childhood, entered the Conservatory of Music to learn to play Guqin (seven-stringed plucked instrument) smoothly. His teacher placed great hopes on him and his girlfriend Xia Fei had the greatest esteem for him. Upon their graduation, Momo, Xia Fei and other young people who cherished dreams finally walked out of the campus and began to experience the ups and downs in real life. While in front of conflicts between their ideals and family relation, love and morality, what would they choose…
Li Mi Conjecture
Due to the intervention of her parents, taxi driver girl Li Mi had to break up with her long-term boyfriend, Fang Wen, who had disappeared from her life yet seemed to remain connected. For four years, Li Mi had continued to search for his whereabouts in a constant tug-of-war between hope and despair. An eerie murder was witnessed, leading her to a man nearly identical to her missing lover. Could he be the one she has been looking for? Her life suddenly changes. Then come terrible yet pitiful drug dealers, and irascible but highly duteous police detectives…Behind the cascades of mysteries, compromises lie still between those who were once in love.
So, come one, come all! They say the BEST things in life are FREE, and what better way to start your year right than to watch quality Chinese films for free at the 8th Chinese Spring Film Festival. Go ahead and take your pick among the featured films this year as well as their screening dates and enjoy. See you at the cinema!
Disclaimer: I am not compensated for this post. Opinions expressed are my own.