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HONG KONG, FRANCE | 2021 | 179min 

Film script: QIU Jiongjiong

Director: QIU Jiongjiong

Producer: DING Ningyuan, YANG Jin

Co-producer: ZHAO Jin, LI Yuwen, Jordane Oudin

Cast: YI Sicheng, GUAN Nan, QIU Zhimin, XUE Xuchun, GU Tao

Photography:  FENG Yuchao "Robbin"

Music: DIAO Lili

Costumes: BAI Yun

Sound Designer: WANG Ran

Art Director: LV Xin




​联合制片人:赵晋、李郁文、Jordane Oudin​、韩轶







One evening in the 1980s, Qiu Fu, a leading clown-role actor in 20th-century Sichuan opera, is killed in an accident and must reluctantly set off for the Ghost City under escort of two underworld officials.  Along the way, he meets old friends.  As they recall the past, earthly scenes creep into the mists of the underworld.

Qiu Fu’s life in opera unfolds against the backdrop of a secular upheaval. The "New-New" Troupe in which he grows up and learns his trade is affiliated with the military. As power shifts, the troupe is cast loose to wander rootlessly through a broken world. Despite this unsettled destiny, shaped by war, famine and political turmoil, Qiu Fu becomes one of the finest clown-role performers in Sichuan opera. And yet, one day he finds himself clapped in a pigsty as a political revolution rages outside.

























Locarno Film Festival 2021

Special Jury Prize - Concorso internazionale

Junior Jury Award - Second Prize

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Busan International Film Festival 2021

A Window On Asian Cinema

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Golden Apricot Yerevan

International Film Festival 2021 

International Competition-Special Jury Mention

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45th Sao Paulo International Film Festival 

International Perspective

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Asian Pacific Screen Award 2021

Achievement in Cinematography



25th Black Nights Film Festival Tallinn

Current Waves


Festival des 3 Continents 2021

International Competition-Prize of Young Jury

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Singapore International Film Festival 2021

Asian Feature Film Competition


The International Film Festival Rotterdam 2022

Official Selection 


Göteborg Film Festival 2022

Voyage - Out of Competition

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International Film Festival of Kerala 2022

World Cinema


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The Golden Horse Film Project Promotion 2017

CNC Cash Award

Hubert Bals Fund spring selection 2018

BoostNL 2018 / 2019


QIU Jiongjiong

QIU Jiongjiong (born 1977) is an active contemporary artist and filmmaker in China. As an artist, his works have been exhibited all over the world (for a detailed curriculum vitae please see attached). As a filmmaker, his experiments with cinematic language and aesthetics in documentary film-making have earned him a reputation as one of China's most important independent directors. His experimental/documentary feature MR. ZHANG BELIEVES (2015), supported by a Sundance Post-Production Grant, premiered at the Locarno International Film Festival and has been screened internationally. JIAO MA TANG HUI (A NEW OLD PLAY) is his first fiction feature.

Selected Reviews:

A playful and vital work, a sincere act of love for a land and a culture steeped in history, a hymn to the Dionysian spirit of art.

---- Eddie Bertozzi (Head of Pardi di domani Selection Committee, Locarno)

Qiu Jiongjiong tells this story with affecting intimacy and candid observation—and with archly ironic methods. The movie is filmed as theatrical tableaux, complete with blatantly contrived sets and supernatural fantasy sequences, which virtually shout at viewers not to take the depicted events as literal truth.

---- Richard Brody (The New Yorker)

Qiu has made a cleverly contained existential epic, an ode to the innate persistence of workers, artists, and people in the face of futility and poor fortune. It is a wonder the film carries it off with an empathetic sparkle—there must be some purpose to art, to life, after all.

---- Daniel Kasman (MUBI Notebook)


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