Films in London today: FIRST NIGHT NERVES, part of Chinese Visual Festival at BFI (02 MAY).

NOW BOOKING: Chinese Visual Festival (02 to 09 MAY)

Chinese Visual Festival opens this week at BFI Southbank & King’s College London (02 to 09 MAY). Projecting “the very best in the cinema of the Chinese language speaking world” the programme combines special guests, rare screenings & plenty of Q&A. Here’s our guide to what’s on.

Chinese Visual Festival; ROUGE (04 MAY).
Chinese Visual Festival; ROUGE at BFI Southbank (04 MAY).


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Headlining the 9th Chinese Visual Festival (CVF) is this year’s special guest, Stanley Kwan. Described by Festival Director James Mudge as one of the filmmakers who “played a key role in shaping modern Hong Kong cinema”, Kwan is known for “emotionally nuanced, formally inventive films” which reveal “a particular sensitivity to women and an interest in social constraints, past and present” (The Rough Guide To Film). Kwan will be presenting the UK Premiere of his new film FIRST NIGHT NERVES, 2018 (02 MAY 18:10, BFI) as well as rare screenings of his classics ROUGE, 1987 (04 MAY 18:15, BFI – already looking SOLD OUT!) and WOMEN, 1985 (05 MAY 15:30, King’s College).

Elsewhere, CVF 2019 comes to a close with the UK premiere of award-winning transgender drama TRACEY, 2018 (09 MAY 18:00, BFI – also looking SOLD OUT!). Billed as “the first film of its kind from Hong Kong” , director Jun Li, writer/producer Shu Kei and actress Jennifer Yu will take part in a Q&A. If there aren’t any ticket returns for that event, you could consider joining the same talent lineup for an earlier In Conversation (09 MAY 15:00, King’s College, FREE!) where they will be discussing their lives and careers in the Hong Kong Film industry.

Chinese Visual Festival: MEILI (06 MAY 13:00).
Chinese Visual Festival: MEILI at King’s College (06 MAY 13:00).

Other special Q&A include director Ying Liang screening his early works WHEN NIGHT FALLS + A SUNNY DAY (03 MAY 19:00, King’s College) as well as his latest A FAMILY TOUR, 2018 (04 MAY 14:00, King’s College). Then, queer filmmaker Fan Popo attends the UK premiere of his new short THE DRUM TOWER, 2018 (06 MAY 13:00, King’s College) which is paired with similarly LGBTQ-themed MEILI d. Zhou Zhou, 2018 (06 MAY 13:00, King’s College).

For non-fiction fans, there are UK premieres of four docs: STAMMERING BALLAD d. Nan Zhang, 2018 (05 MAY 13:00, King’s College); THE LAND OF PEACH BLOSSOMS d. Mingying Zhou, 2018 (05 MAY 19:15, King’s College); FOUR SPRINGS d. Lu Qingyi, 2018 (07 MAY 19:00, King’s College); and, IN CHARACTER d. Don Xueying, 2018 (08 MAY 20:45, BFI).

James Mudge summed up the unique appeal of this year’s festival: “I’m very proud to be bringing a fantastic selection of docs and independent films to the London audience, giving a chance for audiences to see a variety of different stories and subjects from the Chinese language speaking world”.


There are handy Festival Passes which mean you can see everything in the King’s College lineup for £40 (a saving of nearly 50%!). Single events at Kings’ are free for their staff and students, only £5 for students from elsewhere and £8 for everyone else. All In Conversation and Roundtable events are free of charge, though tickets must be reserved via the event pages.


Chinese Visual Festival: STAMMERING BALLAD (05 MAY).
Chinese Visual Festival: STAMMERING BALLAD at King’s College (05 MAY).

The 9th Chinese Visual Festival screens at BFI Southbank and King’s College London (02 to 09 MAY 2019). Find the full programme right here.


Chinese Visual Festival (CVF) has been bringing London the best in contemporary Chinese language film and art since 2011.

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