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Free Film Series 2019: Neon Gods

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Works by some of the most significant directors of our time
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Images - Art Gallery of NSW

The Art Gallery of New South Wales has been running a series of FREE films - Sinophone Cinema, since 20 Feb 2019, and continues to do so till 5 May 2019. If you haven't caught any films yet, here's your last chance to see the rest before the series end. The free film series is in association with the exhibition Heaven and Earth in Chinese Art: Treasures from the National Palace Museum, Taipei. The art exhibition celebrates the rich heritage of Chinese civilisation and is one of the finest collections of Chinese art in the world. Accumulated by emperors over centuries, this collection was, for hundreds of years, accessible only to the imperial elite and rarely seen outside Taipei.

This is the first time the collection has travelled to the southern hemisphere; The Art Gallery of NSW in Sydney being the exclusive venue, and it is unlikely to be seen in Australia again. Skip the queue and buy your tickets from Qtix online to experience this rare opportunity. The exhibition, like the FREE film series, runs till 5 May 2019.

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Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - Dir Ang Lee 2000

THE FREE FILM SERIES - Neon Gods, features works by some of the most significant directors of the 20th century, including Hou Hsiao-hsien, Edward Yang, Ang Lee and Tsai Ming-liang. This season, the Gods of modern cinema are not found on the temple altar, but on neon-lit streets of nocturnal Taipei. A cast of rebels, action heroines and queer outsiders as our guides, cruise with the Gods on a journey through the best of Chinese-language cinema presented on imported 35mm prints. Tickets are available at the door or you can book your FREE ticket ahead online to secure your seat, and save being in a queue.

The Hole - screening Wed 27 Mar at 2pm & 7.15pm & Sun 31 Mar at 2pm; a 95 min event by Director Tsai Ming -liang (1998) is wildly original reckoning, with repressed desire via fifties Cantopop, making it a creation that can only be from the mind of this director. A mysterious virus grips Taipei and in the midst of this crises, two neighbours begin a courtship after a plumber accidentally creates a hole connecting their apartments. Trapped, liberation comes in the form of camp, lip-synced musical interludes.

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Eat Drink Man Woman - Dir Ang Lee 1994

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - screening Wed 3 Apr at 7.15pm, Sat 6 Apr at 2pm & Sun 7 Apr at 2pm; Director Ang Lee took the revenge plot of 1960s Chinese wuxia pian (heroic swordplay) films, added a feminist twist and created a timeless action classic. The theft of a magical sword sets in motion a series of gravity-defying duels which test the bonds of love, duty and sisterhood. A simple plot with a lavish treatment, this is amazing swooping cinematography, wirework wizardry and balletic choreography at its best.

Eat Drink Man Woman - screening Wed 10 Apr at 2pm and 7.15pm and Sun 14 Apr at 2pm; by renown Director Ang Lee again, is his cult classic that is about food and sex, and unavoidable human desires. It explores shifting Confucian ethics at the dinner table; Sunday night ritual dinners at the Chu's family. Widowed master Chef Mr Chu spends the day making dumplings, roasting pork belly and carving ornate watermelon bowls. His three daughters navigate life in the city and a shared bowl of shark fin soup can no longer bind this Taipei family together. It features extravagant cooking sequences and consequences.

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Yi Yi - Dir Edward Yang 2000

Yi Yi - screening Wed 17 Apr at 2pm and 6.30pm and Sun 21 Apr at 2pm; is directed by Edward Yang, and is widely acclaimed as a masterpiece of 21st century cinema. It begins with a wedding and ends with a funeral, running the gamut of human experience in between. This intimate epic has at its epicentre, a middle class Taipei family whose lives come together and pull apart between major life events. Each gorgeous frame is imbued with keen empathy that'll make you wonder if the overpowering feeling you're left with is grief, joy, or mirth. This is a lengthy 173 min film and starts earlier than usual.

A Touch of Zen - screening Wed 24 Apr at 2pm and 6.30pm and Sun 28 Apr at 2pm; is directed by King Hu. It's said when it comes to wuxia film, all roads lead back to the great King Hu; supreme fantasist, Ming Dynasty scholar and incomparable aesthete. Yang, a fugitive noblewoman marked for execution by a corrupt eunuch seeks refuge in a mountain village. She joins forces with bumbling scholar Gu and two aides, though she clearly doesn't need a man's help once the swords start clanging an hour in. This story soon morphs into a supernatural ghost story and political thriller and is one of the first Chinese films to win a prize at Cannes. It remains a vital cinematic experience. Another lengthy 180min long film starting earlier than usual.

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A Touch of Zen - Dir King Hu 1971

Small Talk - screening Wed 1 May at 2pm and 7.15pm and Sun 5 May at 2pm; is by Director Huang Hui-Chen. This 88 min offering is an intimate documentary as filmmaker Huang confronts the past with her estranged mother Anu, a bad-ass lesbian Taoist priestess. How many girlfriends have you had? asks Huang, and her mother answers, Too many to count. Shot in vérité-style, the pair journey back to ancestral sites and childhood homes, visiting Anu's siblings and ex-lovers along the way. This exercise in remembrance reveals a richly ambivalent portrait of a life circumscribed by patriarchy, marriage and motherhood. It won the prestigious Teddy Award for Best Documentary Film at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival.

Check here for more information. If you're new to Sinophone Cinema, it'd be no surprise if after this amazing series, you'd be scurrying over to see what Netflix has on offer in Chinese films. Pop in and check out the rare Amazing Art Exhibition Heaven and Earth in Chinese Art: Treasures from the National Palace Museum, Taipei while you're there.

free film series, neon gods, sinophone cinema, art gallery of nsw, community event, fun things to do, foreign films, subtitled films, chinese films, free movies event, art gallery of new south wales, chinese art, heaven and earth chinese art exhibition, the hole, tsai ming-liang, crouching tiger hidden dragon, ang lee, eat drink man woman, michelle yeoh, yi yi, edwards yang, a touch of zen, king hu, small talk, performing arts, actors, actresses
Small Talk - Dir Huang Hui-Chen 2016
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Why? FREE film series: Neon Gods - Sinophone Cinemma
When: Wed 27 March to Sun 5 May 2019
Where: Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery Rd, The Domain, Sydney, NSW
Cost: Free Entry but MUST REGISTER
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