Film Screening and In Conversation

marginsofchinaFestival of Democracy 2016, University of Sydney

Film Screening (3 September) and In Conversation with Filmmaker Liu Xiangchen (5 September)

Film screening: Eid al-Fitr; Return of Lost Souls

The return of China to global prominence has prompted local and foreign observers to ask searching questions: is there an emerging ‘Chinese identity’? When the phrase ‘with Chinese characteristics’ is used, what exactly does this mean? Does it have any meaning at all? Screened for the first time in Australia, the remarkable documentaries by two of China’s most creative documentary film makers probe these questions in surprising ways. Return of Lost Souls (魂归何处) (2016), by Nina Ningtong Wang, and Xiangchen Liu’s Eid al-Fitr (开斋节) (2015), complicate mainstream understandings of Chinese identity. Featuring Muslims living in south-west Xinjiang, and the animist Hmong peoples living on the Laos/China border, the films highlight the resilience of local cultures that function as cross-border imagined communities; the spread of Chinese economic power; women and family life; the challenges posed by rapid urbanisation; and the continuing grip of religious belief in shaping the everyday lives of peoples living at the borders of China.

Date: Saturday 3 September 2016
Time: 5:00pm-7:00pm
Price: $16 Available at Sydney Fringe Festival
Where: No 1 Verona Cinema,17 Oxford St, Paddington NSW 2021



In Conversation: On the Margins of China

Xiangchen Liu in conversation with Andres Rodriguez, School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry

Visiting documentary filmmaker Xiangchen Liu will discuss his films and the history and culture of Xinjiang province, with a focus on the Chinese Muslim minority groups, the Kyrgyz and Uyghur peoples.

Xiangchen Liu is widely regarded as one of China’s leading documentary filmmakers. A writer and scholar, he studied visual anthropology at Xinjiang Normal University in China. Among his best-known documentaries is The Sun Tribe (2005), which was screened by CCTV, the National Geographic Channel in the United States and in many other countries. His Jade Mountain (2002), Asiq: The Last Troubador (2011) and The Feast of Kurban Bayram (2012) have all been screened outside of China, and have won many awards, including the best documentary at the Chinese Film Academy awards (2008), China Visual Anthropology Academy Award for Best Visual Effects (2010) and the International Gold Panda (Sichuan 2011). Xiangchen Liu has spent many years recording the daily lives of ethnic minority groups on China’s periphery, especially in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. His latest film, screened for the first time in Australia, is Eid al-Fitr. Based on many months’ fieldwork and filming among the Kyrgyz people of Xinjiang, it examines in detail the lives of China’s Muslims during the Eid al-Fitr festival that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting.

5:00pm-7:00pm, Monday 5 September 2016
Law Lounge, New Law Building (F10), Eastern Avenue, University of Sydney
Please register here to secure a seat.