News  ·  13 | 08 | 2021

Jiao ma tang hui (A New Old Play)

QIU Jiongjigong | Concorso internazionale

Not just a film, but the grandiose work of an artist and a visionary.

Jiao ma tang hui (A New Old Play) is the first fiction film by Qiu Jiongjiong, a major name in contemporary Chinese art that moves fluidly between painting, theater, and experimental cinema (his Mr.  Zhang Believes was presented at Locarno in 2015).

Three fields blended into a spectacular synthesis in this latest work, the sui generis epic of a company of Sichuan opera performers and their adventure of art, love, and life amidst the tumultuous events of twentieth-century China. A story that takes shape from the memories of a clown from the afterlife and that extends along a median dimension in which the world of the living and that of ghosts interpenetrate. A reflection and a rethinking of the modes of historical narrative, between the history of art and the history of the nation. A story that is evoked as in a forum of spirits to give testimony not only of the facts, but above all of the glories and decline of a legendary art form. An ambitious fresco and a visual experience of stunning and refined intensity, inspired by the purity of the backdrops of silent films, the handcrafted sets of classical Chinese theater, and the millennial tradition of landscape painting on silk. All without tedious intellectualism. Jiao ma tang hui is a playful and vital work, a sincere act of love for a land and a culture steeped in history, a hymn to the Dionysian spirit of art.

Eddie Bertozzi