Dispatch From Paris: Chinese Films Take Part In First Annual ASVOFF Festival

Presence Of Chinese Designers, Models Increasing At Paris Fashion And Creative Events

Films by Chinese filmmakers and artists like Rain Li and Yang Fudong were shown at this weekend's ASVOFF festival

Films by Chinese filmmakers and artists like Rain Li and Yang Fudong were shown at this weekend's ASVOFF festival

This week, fashion designer and Jing Daily Paris correspondent Cliff Lee, reflecting on this weekend’s ASVOFF festival, looks at the growing presence of Chinese creatives at fashion and arts festivals in Paris.

This past weekend, the first annual fashion/style film festival ASVOFF (A Shaded View on Fashion Film) was at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Organized by the international fashion journalist-icon, Diane Pernet, the festival aims to express fashion and creativity through the medium of film rather than traditional print media forms like billboards and magazines. The three-day event included more than 75 short films and documentaries, with 68 of these in competition.

The short films shown at ASVOFF were created by photographers, artistic directors and fashion designers and judged by a panel of international stars such as the director Mike Figgis (“Leaving Las Vegas,” “Time Code”), the musician Bryan Adams, the composer Michael Nyman (La Leçon de Piano), the photographer Paolo Roversi (who Jing Daily recently saw at the launch of Hermès’ China sub-brand Shang Xia) and many others.

The short film “Red” by Rain Li, the rising Chinese film director who has previously collaborated with Yohji Yamamoto and Dries Van Noten, was included in competition at the festival this weekend. The film, which was created for the Chinese publishing company Modern Media, uses a dancer in a red dress to expresses a woman’s complex emotions and sensuality through a combination of ballet, jazz and modern dance performance.

Another Chinese film in competition, “My Heart Laid Bare” by the young artist Yi Zhou, is an adaptation of Giovanni Boccaccio’s Fifth Decameron: Nastagio degli Onesti. Played by the world renowned French actress Charlotte Gainsbourg, the story is about the end of love, taking place in the Roman suburbs between the Port of Fiumicino and Ostia.

Chinese films not in competition shown at the festival included “First Spring,” the short film by Yang Fudong which was commissioned by Prada this spring (previously on Jing Daily) and depicts both the beauty and the decay of Shanghai in the 1940s; Rain Li’s “Awakening,” which evokes the senses through a modern dance performance; And the documentary “Cult Youth” by comic artists Coco Wang and Mi You, which concerns the life and work of four Chinese comic artists from an underground comic group in Beijing.

We also noticed two films with Chinese actors/models cast in the main roles at the festival. Chinese supermodel Liu Wen made her cinema debut in “How You Look At It” by the London-born, New York-based photographer Poppy De Villeneuve, about a chance encounter between a Chinese woman in New York City and a stranger teaching her to swim in a 1920s pool. While in “Anytime Soon,” the French director Jean Claude Thibaut portrays a Chinese film director’s search for a balance between the real and the ideal, the sensual and the intellectual, the sense of touch and the sense of sight, of his ideal woman. A missing link that renders him unable to distinguish the woman in his film and those he meets in real life.

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