The work of filmmaking duo Xi Chen and Xu An uniquely evokes China’s past in a mix of modernity and tradition.
The work of contemporaries Xi Chen and Xu An (respectively graduated from the universities of Tsinghua and Beihang) is rich and coherent, touching on the history of their country and skilfully mastering the art of mixing modernity and tradition. Involved in a number of independent short films as well as TV productions, their work is distinguished by a stylised graphic approach and a relationship to movement that is reminiscent of the performing arts such as dance, theatre or opera. In this regard, Grain Coupon unquestionably remains their most ambitious film to date.
For them, each film is an opportunity to explore a particular facet of dramatic arts, like in the extremely beautiful The Swallow, where three women from the same family, spanning three generations, live together in China during the 1940s, or again in Mahjong with its daring treatment of lighting. Thanks to the steady pace of their production, the pair have quickly become leading filmmakers in the early 21st century.
The films of Xi Chen and Xu An explore the history of their country with remarkable beauty and with this special programme, the Festival invites you to travel back in time with a retrospective selection of this talented duo’s work.
As we were writing these words, we learned that Xu An has sadly passed away.