The fifth year of the Beijing International Film Festival will be held this month from April 16 to 23. Action movie legend and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will be present at the fest and acclaimed French director and producer Luc Besson will chair the awards jury.
Screenings are spread out between 22 different cinemas around town. This year’s fest includes some recent Oscar nominees as well as some popular indie selections. The festival also features an array of classics that have not been shown on the big screen in Beijing for quite some time (if ever).
For a full list of the films that will be shown this year, check out the BJIFF site here (handily, both in English and Chinese). Tickets to screenings at the film fest are available for purchase here – most are priced between RMB 40 and RMB 60.
Here are a few highlights of family films that will be shown; act now or you’re liable to lose your chance:
Shaun the Sheep
The British animated series stars Shaun, a sheep and his madcap adventures around a small farm as the leader of his flock. The film was first released theatrically in February 2015 in the UK.
Song of the Sea
The story of the 2014 Irish animated fantasy film is based on the ancient Celtic myth of the Selkie. Ben and Saoirse live in a lighthouse by the sea with their father, Conor, who remains distraught over the loss of his wife several years earlier. Though Ben is aware of the responsibility that comes with being a big brother, he is easily frustrated with Saoirse, who, at six years old, has yet to utter a single word.
When Saoirse discovers a shell flute that used to belong to their mother, the spellbinding music she creates becomes both a means of communication and the key to a magical secret locked deep in their mother’s past.
Kids and Adolescents:
The 2009 American epic sci-fi is set in the mid-22nd century, when the expansion of the mining colony threatens the continued existence of the local tribe of Na’vi, a humanoid species indigenous to Pandora.
Life of Pi
The 2012 American adventure drama film based on Yann Martel’s 2011 novel of the same name revolves around an Indian man named Piscine Molitor "Pi" Patel, living in Canada and telling a novelist about his life story and how at 16 he survives a shipwreck in which his family dies, and is stranded in the Pacific Ocean on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.
It’s the start of the spring term in a small northern town, heralding swimming lessons, hanging out with best friends, new classes and new possibilities. But this year, things are different for 14-year-old Sam. While her friends are moving on, focusing on boys, experimenting with drugs, Sam is too uncomfortable to even take off her bathing suit in front of the other girls. After landing herself into trouble, she is forced to work as a cleaner at the retirement home run by her mother. Sam finds unexpected and unlikely friendships with two of the retirement home’s residents who end up teaching Sam a few things about growing up and growing old.
Guardians of the Galaxy
In Guardians of the Galaxy, Peter Quill forms an uneasy alliance with a group of extraterrestrial misfits, including Groot, a tree-like humanoid and Rocket, a genetically engineered raccoon, fleeing after stealing a powerful artifact.
Though the booking system is restricted to Chinese only, it is not too tricky to beat. First, you need to register by clicking on “注册” in the top right of the screen and filling out the form. If you already have a sina weibo, qq or alipay account, you don’t have to register and can simply login with these accounts.
After you log in, you can choose the film, pick your seats (whites are available) and pay. All major Chinese bank cards are accepted.
Photos: Courtesy of BIFF, Pixabay.