#TheaterPH - Shang showcases the best of today’s Chinese cinema with 18th Spring Film Festival

Shangri-La Plaza, the hub of world cinema in the Philippines, is starting off a brand-new year of exciting film fests, arts and cultural events, and partnerships with various embassies with the beloved Spring Film Festival as it returns to the Red Carpet Cinema for its 18th year from January 23 to 30.

Initiated in partnership with the Ateneo Ricardo Leong Center for Chinese Studies, Ateneo Celadon, and Film Development Council of the Philippines, and with the enduring support of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, the 18th Spring Film Festival offers more than just a simple cultural exchange. It gives Filipinos a deeper understanding of Chinese culture and expands their knowledge about one of the world’s biggest film industries. 

Catch renowned Hong Kong director Andrew Lau’s The Captain, a gripping action thriller based on the real-life Sichuan Airlines Flight 8633 incident where a windshield shuttered abruptly after take-off. As the temperature rapidly drops and people lose consciousness, it’s up to the strong-willed captain, played by “Grand Slam” award-winning actor Zhang Hanyu, to perform one of the biggest miracles in aviation history. 

Looking Up narrates the poignant tale of an astronaut who, stranded in space, draws strength from his enduring connection with his father. Directed by veteran Chinese actor Deng Chao who also plays the lead role, the heartrending 2019 film was notably featured at the 2019 Busan International Film Festival and the 32nd Tokyo International Film Festival, and even won Best Film at the 11th Macau International Movie Festival. 

Based on a popular Chinese folk tale, the animated Sino-US coproduction White Snake by Amp Wong and Zhao Ji tells the story of a white snake yearning for the human experience. When the snake magically turns into a woman and marries a scholar, the star-crossed lovers must find out if their love is enough for the challenges ahead. 

Delve into the fantasy world of the Legend of the Demon Cat helmed by influential Chinese auteur Chen Kaige. It follows poet Bai Letain and monk Kukai as they investigate the death of the emperor’s concubine. The task is made even harder when a demon cat appears and wreaks havoc in their city.  

Thriller and mystery fans can enjoy Full River Red, a period film by award-winning director Zhang Yimou. Starring Shen Teng and Jackson Yee, the story follows a murder mystery set in the beginning era of the Southern Song dynasty. One of China’s highest grossing films in 2023, this dark comedy explores themes of betrayal and patriotism. 

The riveting disaster film The Bravest rounds out the festival lineup. Directed by Hong Kong filmmaker Tony Chan and starring Chinese A-lister Huang Xiaoming, the film showcases the story of several Chinese firefighters as they struggle to contain a huge fire after an oil pipeline explodes—based no less on the real-life Xingang Port oil spill incident that captivated Chinese headlines. 

Beyond films, the 18th Spring Film Festival is also bringing back its Chinese Painting Workshop on January 27, 2024, 2pm at the Grand Atrium. Leading the workshop is President of the Art Association of the Philippines Master Fidel M. Sarmiento, whose past art sessions at the Shang were a hit. Mall guests can also enjoy an exhibit featuring intricately made fans and scrolls.

They can also head over to the East Atrium for Nihao, China, a special photo exhibit organized by the Embassy of China in the Philippines and Chinatown TV. Running throughout the film festival, it features iconic landmarks and landscape sceneries across China, different ways and traditions to celebrate the Chinese New Year on February 10, and some fortune predictions and readings per zodiac animal for the Year of the Dragon.

Discover the wonders of Chinese cinema and rich culture at the 18th Spring Film Festival from January 23 to 30 at Shangri-La Plaza!

For updates and inquiries, follow Shangri-La Plaza on Facebook at www.facebook.com/shangrilaplazaofficial and on Instagram @shangrilaplazaofficial.

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