10 Films you shouldn’t miss at the Mulan International Film Festival

These are 7 feature films and 3 short films you shouldn’t miss at the Mulan International Film Festival., which will take place from August 12 – 19, 2022 in Toronto, Canada.

3CM by Wong Siu-pong – Hong Kong | 2019 – 88 minutes

Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC) is a genetic disorder that causes noncancerous tumors to grow in different parts of the body. However, the Hong Kong government has been slow to allow treatment for the disease, especially in relaxing regulations for drugs that treat the tumors. After taking an in-depth look at ordinary citizens facing death in his critically-acclaimed documentary Snuggle, director WONG Siu-pong now turns his camera on Hong Kong’s medical system with this heartrending documentary about a young TSC patient who also lost her mother to the disease. (MulanIFF 2022)

August 14, 2022 | Sunday | Innis Town Hall | 3:30 pm


A New Old Play by Qiu Jiongjiong – Hong Kong | 2021 – 179 minutes

One evening in the 1980s, Qiu Fu, a leading clown-role actor in 20th-century Sichuan opera, departs this world and must reluctantly set off for the Ghost City under the escort of two underworld officials. Along the way, he meets old friends. As they recall the past, earthly scenes creep into the mists of the Netherworld.

Qiu Fu’s life in opera unfolds against the backdrop of a secular upheaval. The “New-New” Troupe in which he grows up and learns his trade is affiliated with the military. As power shifts, the troupe is cast loose to wander rootlessly through a broken world. Despite this unsettled destiny, shaped by war, famine and political turmoil, Qiu Fu becomes one of the finest clown-role performers in Sichuan opera. And yet, one day he finds himself clapped in a pigsty as a political revolution rages outside.

Outside the Ghost City, sitting among familiar faces, Qiu Fu drinks the mandatory bowl of Forgetfulness Soup to erase his memory. A lifetime of hardship, pain and sorrow, all vanish as if they had never been. (MulanIFF 2022)

August 20, 2022 | Saturday | Innis Town Hall | 7:00 pm


All the Crows in the World by Tang Yi – Hong Kong | 2021 – 15 minutes

18-year-old Shengnan is invited to a mysterious party by her cousin. The party is filled with greasy middle-aged Chinese men. Among these people, Jianguo is so different. (MulanIFF 2022)

August 12, 2022 | Friday | Innis Town Hall | 7:30 pm (Opening Night)
This short film screens with Keep Rolling and Lili Alone


Fishbowl by Jacqueline Chan – USA | 2021 – 15 minutes

Natalie and her childhood friend Joanne drive home after their first semester of college to celebrate Chinese New Year.  Navigating festivities that were once inviting but now seem tinged with a foreign animosity, Natalie struggles to keep the growing attraction she shares with Joanne from the prying eyes of those she once called home. (MulanIFF 2022)

August 13, 2022 | Saturday | Innis Town Hall | 11:45 am
Screens with other short films


Keep Rolling by Man Lim-chung – Hong Kong | 2020 – 113 minutes

On a buzzing red carpet, a 70-year-old short-haired woman strides towards the stage with confidence. Behind the red carpet, it’s a muddy path that leads to a movie studio in New Territories, Hong Kong. To her, glory and hardship are nothing more than just different paths that lead to the world of cinema. Born in Northeastern China, raised in Macau and educated in Hong Kong, Ann Hui stays true to her cultural heritage as a Chinese, yet she has always been fascinated by Western literature and therefore decided to further her studies in London. Eventually, she found movies. Through movies, she becomes fully immersed into the ‘East-meets-West’ culture and lifestyle of Hong Kong; She reconciles with her distant mother; And she gets to explore the cultural and social identity of her and the city she calls home. Movies also found her. Having learned from veteran auteur King Hu, her directorial debut became part of the impetus behind Hong Kong’s New Wave as she explores marginalized characters in her movies. 40 years have passed, Ann Hui experienced numerous ups and downs in her career, but the turn of the tide has never threatened her dedication and integrity towards movies. Her works embody her humanistic concerns and deep interests for the people of Hong Kong. On the lonely journey of discovery, her life is now full because of movies. (MulanIFF 2022)

August 12, 2022 | Friday | Innis Town Hall | 7:30 pm
This film screens with All the Crows in the World and Lili Alone


Lili Alone by Zou Jing – China, Hong Kong, Singapore | 2021 – 22 minutes

Lili, a young mother, lives with her gambler husband in a remote part of Sichuan. Lonely and poor, she heads for the city in a bid to earn enough money to save her dying father.

August 12, 2022 | Friday | Innis Town Hall | 7:30 pm
Screens with Keep Rolling, and All the Crows in the World


Lost Course by Jill Li – Hong Kong | 2019 – 180 minutes

Embedding herself in a small fishing village in southern China for several years starting in 2011, first-time documentarian Jill Li witnessed an unprecedented experiment in local democracy. Corrupt officials had illegally sold villagers’ land, but the villagers decided to fight back.

The documentary is divided into two halves: the first, “Protests”, depicts the grassroots activities of the residents as they work to reverse the land sales and gain a substantial measure of control over their local territory. We see how the villagers themselves learn to organize free and fair elections, form alliances, and win support. Part two, “After Protests”, confronts the collapse of idealism as the newly elected village government finds itself mired in the same kind of corrupt dealings they had originally condemned.

Li reveals the complexities of their triumphs and setbacks from the inside. Her astonishingly intimate, sympathetic and fair-minded access to the events’ major players reveals Chinese local politics with three-dimensional passion and energy. (MulanIFF 2022)

August 17, 2022 | Wednesday | Innis Town Hall | 7:00 pm


Spring Tide by Yang Lina – 2019 – 124 minutes

Guo Jianbo (HAO Lei), her mother and her daughter live in the same flat. Jianbo is a journalist specializing in social news. Much of the reporting she does on social issues causes her great pain and agony.

Her retired mother (Elaine JIN Yan-ling) helps out in the local community. She is warm and friendly to all the residents and people in that community and regularly organizes singing competitions.

But there exists an invisible glass wall between Guo Jianbo and her mother. Jianbo’s daughter grows up and develops her character in the cracks of that invisible screen. The family ties that bind the three together and the nature of the times in which they each grew up have seeped into their veins like a deadly poison.

Three generations. Three different contexts. Each of them has their own way of escaping from the reality around them, only to inevitably clash from time to time. After a particularly serious confrontation, Jianbo’s mother is admitted to hospital and peace returns to their lives.

Amongst all the anxiety and hurt brought about by Jianbo’s father, their experiences of the past and worries for the future, there is a glimpse of reconciliation and a glimmer of hope. (MulanIFF 2022)

August 13, 2022 | Saturday | Innis Town Hall | 7:00 pm


The Day Is Over by Qi Rui – China | 2021 – 108 minutes

Living quietly in the mountains, 12-year-old ZHANG Jiaxing faces humiliation when she finds a dirty note and is accused of theft by her classmates. Assisted by her good friend who is sent back to the village, Jiaxing gets the money they need to go find her father in Shenzhen, yet her plan is wrecked when the wardrobe in which her money is hidden is accidentally sold by her grandmother. Unable to repay the loan, and hopeless to see their parents, the girls resolve to find their way out in the pond, where they can be embraced once again, just like in their mother’s womb. (MulanIFF 2022)

August 13, 2022 | Saturday | Innis Town Hall | 2:15 pm


The Good Woman of Sichuan by Sabrina Zhao – Canada | 2021 – 87 minutes

A young woman goes on an anonymous journey to her late husband’s hometown Leshan, a small city in Sichuan province. There, she meets an old friend, a local theatre actress preparing for an adaptation of Bertolt Brecht’s The Good Person of Szechwan. In a home-place unfamiliar, the traveling woman meets the imaginary. Ghosted by Shen Te the protagonist of the play, the actress loses the self at the intersection between fiction and reality. Unprepared, the filmmaker loses control of her camera. Together, they drift into a polyrhythmic experience of stasis. (MulanIFF 2022)

August 20, 2022 | Saturday | Innis Town Hall | 5:00 pm


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