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Broad Strokes of the Shanghai International Film Festival

Jun 7, 2016 | 12:34 Tue
This year's Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF) -- happening from June 11 to June 19 and taking over at least 40 cinemas in Shanghai -- is offering, arguably, the most impressive program in its 19 years of existence. Organizers started to announce special guests way back in February -- they're pretty keen. Usually, they wait until April or May.

Since then, news and information has been trickling out almost non-stop in the run up to the opening next week. It's all been pretty overwhelming for Shanghai movie nerds -- 老司机 (old drivers).

With WALL-E to Wes Anderson represented, click on the jump for the broad strokes and highlights of the Shanghai International Film Festival.


In Brief

Hundred of movies and films screened in over 40 cinemas across Shanghai -- the Shanghai International Film Festival, running from June 11 to June 19. Tickets are now available on Taobao's movie app Taopiaopiao and at all the selected cinemas. Prices are around 60rmb. The official website with the screening schedule, cinema information, and everything else is right here. Make sure to subscribe to SIFF's WeChat (SIFFinShanghai) for all their latest news.

Guests and Celebrities

Ian McKellen spotted being his wonderful self yesterday in Beijing.

For special guests, so far SIFF has secured Sir Ian McKellen -- Gandalf! -- alongside with BFI's head curator, Robin Baker. Both will appear for the Shakespeare 400th anniversary tribute. More luminaries of filmdom: Serbian filmmaker Emir Kusturica was named as jury president, which means he'll be taking part in a Q&A and talk in Shanghai, and some of his classics like Underground or Black Cat, White Cat could be showing during SIFF.

Art House Masters


Getting into the actual movies, as for other director-oriented film screenings -- all works from Russian director, Andrei Tarkovsky are in the schedule; eight films of Italian director, Luchino Visconti, and five critically acclaimed, more recent movies from Woody Allen (including his latest, Café Society, which just premiered at Cannes). These are in the "Tribute to Masters" section, celebrating the auteur figure in modern cinema. Hong Kong singer-actor, Leslie Cheung is also one of the four masters in this section.

Another great Italian film master, Federico Fellini will be represented at SIFF, with a screening of his classic drama, Amarcord, selected among many other 4K renovated films.

Bond, James Bond

"But of course darling."

Speaking of classics, one of the highlights of this year's program is the 007 Film Screening Section, which includes seven Bond installments from 1963 to 2006. On the schedule are series highlights like From Russia with Love, Goldeneye, and both versions of Casino Royale. Basically, every Bond actor will have one of his films shown in Shanghai, and we'll be able to enjoy some classic British spy sexiness (or sexist-ness) in 4K glory. (Except 1967's version of Casino Royale.)

Award Winning Films

Crime drama "Sicario" has some pretty stellar poster art.

Recent awards season favorites are featuring in the program as well, and some of them are definitely worth seeing on a big screen: Sicario, which is featured in the Jackie Chan Action Movie Week; Spotlight, Room and The Danish Girl are among the list of this year's Oscar-winning films; as are European film festival conquerors Son of Saul, Mustang, and Fire at Sea just to name a few. That's one hell of a list.

Classics from Fox Searchlight Pictures and Pixar

"Little Miss Sunshine"

Mining a little nostalgia, this year's SIFF also has a Fox Searchlight Pictures section: eight movies from the production studio, including Little Miss Sunshine, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Birdman. The Pixar section has six movies: WALL-E, The Incredibles and Up among those.

Make sure you come fully loaded with Kleenex.

International Films from Germany, Japan, and Korea

One-take German thriller, "Victoria"

The German section at SIFF includes last year's highly acclaimed crime drama, Victoria and The Culpable on the list. As SIFF collaborates with the Tokyo International Film Festival and the Busan International Film Festival, there are quite a few Japanese and Korean films showing, with a few having their world premieres.

Note: All the movies played at SIFF only have Chinese subtitles, so for a lot of our readers, you might have to miss out on those...


So, yeah, the SIFF -- great options for both mainstream and art house movie fans. They normally don't censor much either. The only downside is you might need to get up early on a Saturday morning, especially for these Oscar-winning films.

Last pro-tip item: Get your tickets sooner rather than later. Cinemas might lock some tickets for the lingdao groups and you are competing with not just local theater-goers, huangnius, but also movie enthusiasts that come all the way from outside of Shanghai specifically for the event.



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