Art College 1994
Early 1990s, campus of the Chinese Southern Academy of Arts. A group of young students are preparing themselves for the challenges of the real world. As they venture into the society, where love and friendships are entangled, they also grapple with what they want to achieve in this turbulent state of adulthood. As China went through rapid social and cultural changes back then, the students, caught between tradition and modernity, painstakingly try to balance their artistic pursuits, romantic relationships, and personal ambitions.
A vivid portrait of the artistic ‘gang’ is presented to the audience: chain-smoking long-haired Xiaojun who majors in traditional Chinese painting, Xiaojun’s roommate Rabbit who jokes about everything can be art, Lili and Hong, two music major female students who dream about having a splendid concert together but only find out that they have enough to worry about before this can actually happen…
In his wistful and nostalgic piece, director Liu Jian uses 2D animation style as a tool to revisit his very own experience as a young art student with both hopes and delusion. But the story goes beyond being just ‘personal’. As indicated by the James Joyce quote that opens the film, it is about how ‘to live, to err, to fall, to triumph, to recreate life out of life’.
Liu Jian graduated from the Nanjing Art Institute in 1993, majoring in Chinese Painting. He now teaches animation at China Academy of Art. His first animated feature, Piercing (2010), won Best Animated Feature Films at Asia Pacific Screen Awards. In 2017, Have A Nice Day competed at Berlinale before being screened in more than 50 festivals worldwide including BFI London, Sitges, and Annecy. In 2023, Art College 1994 marked his second time at Berlinale’s main competition.
Red Lotus 2023
118 Min | Color | Chinese with English subtitles
Directed by LIU Jian
Screenplay LIN Shan, LIU Jian Animation LI Jiajia, WANG Mile, GUO Xiaoruo Music CUI Jian, CHEN Li, SUN Yunfan, David Wen-Wei LIANG, Alex LIU
Cast (voices) DONG Zijian, ZHOU Dongyu, Papi JIANG, HUANG Bo, Renke, Dapeng, WANG Hongwei, JIA Zhangke, BAI Ke, BI Gan, BU Guanjin, Kevin TSAI, XU Zhiyuan, PENG Lei
World sales Memento International