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Cannes: Acclaimed Chinese Indie Film ‘A New Old Play’ Sells to France, Japan, SE Asia (Exclusive)

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Chinese sales company Parallax Films has notched a batch of sales deals for director Qiu Jiongjiong‘s Locarno 2021 jury prize-winning historical drama A New Old Play. The acclaimed Chinese indie film has sold to France’s Carlotta Films, Japan’s Katsuben Cinema Club, and Singapore’s Cineaste Production House for distribution across all Southeast Asian territories, excluding Indonesia and Vietnam. All three companies are planning theatrical releases for the film later this year. 

Based in Shenzhen, Qiu is both a filmmaker and a well-regarded contemporary artist. His work as an artist has been exhibited worldwide, and his filmmaking experiments with cinematic language and documentary techniques have earned him a reputation as one of China’s most important independent directors. 

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Loosely based on the life of the director’s grandfather, A New Old Play begins when the leading clown performer in a renowned theatre troupe passes away and is welcomed into the Underworld. As he relives his vivid memories one last time before entering the afterlife, 50 years of art, struggle and love play out against the background of 20th-century China’s tumultuous history. The film has an emotional immediacy but employs ironically distanced visual methods, including a theatrical tableaux filming style with conspicuously colorful and playful sets and supernatural fantasy sequences.

Qiu’s reputation has been on the rise steadily in recent years. In early 2024, both the University of Chicago and Hong Kong University staged retrospectives of his films. London’s Garden Cinema and Berlin’s CiLENS have similar screening series planned for later this year.

Qiu recently announced his next feature, Fuxi: Joy in Four Chapters. The project won the  Project D Award at the Hong Kong Asian Film Financing Forum in March. 

Based in Beijing, Parallax Films is the international film sales and distribution brand of Midnight Blur Films, specializing in the worldwide distribution of quality Chinese films and publicity at international film festivals. 

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