After its initial premiere was canceled, Chinese director Feng Xiaogang’s latest work, “Youth,” will kick off the inaugural Pingyao International Film Festival later this month, the event’s organizers announced in a press conference Monday.
Named after Ang Lee’s Oscar-winning “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and founded by the prominent Chinese director Jia Zhangke, the Pingyao International Film Festival will take place from Oct. 28 to Nov. 4 in Pingyao, a historic town in northern China’s Shanxi province. The festival’s curators have focused on arthouse-style movies, selecting some 40-plus titles from all over the world.
The opening screening will be Feng’s “Youth,” which tells the coming-of-age story of members of a so-called military cultural troupe — groups of soldiers who traveled across the country giving performances to boost morale — during the years leading up to and following the Sino-Vietnamese War of 1979.
Though “Youth” was originally scheduled for cinematic release on Sept. 29, ahead of China’s weeklong National Day holiday, an account on microblog platform Weibo affiliated with Feng wrote on Sept. 24 that its release date would be postponed.
Despite having already received official approval from China’s media regulator, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television (SAPPRFT), the post said the decision had been made following talks with China’s national movie bureau and “relevant parties.”
Pingyao County head Shi Yong told Sixth Tone in a previous interview that an independent, professional team was fully responsible for selecting the films to be featured at the festival, whose organizers had set out to make the Chinese equivalent to Utah’s Sundance Film Festival by recognizing outstanding arthouse-style films from China and other countries. Shi added that all of the movies chosen for screening must meet requirements set by provincial media regulators and other supervisory departments.
Editor: David Paulk.
(Header image: A promotional image from Feng Xiaogang’s film ‘Youth.’ IC)