Zhao Li is a woman trying to hold it all together. The Sichuan Opera troupe she manages is creating beautiful work, but it plays to a dwindling audience of the loyal elderly from the theatre’s down-at-heel neighbourhood. With the troupe consisting mainly of veteran performers, her hopes for a change in fortune rest on the shoulders of her talented niece Dan Dan. So, Zhao Li sets about putting on a show to grab the attention of a local bureaucrat who could reverse their eviction notice. For his second feature, Chinese-Canadian filmmaker Johnny Ma corrals a cast made up of real-life Sichuan Opera performers, painting this makeshift family in brightly coloured hues, and injecting humour and splashes of fantasy into this engaging tribute to the endurance of the artistic spirit.
Preceded by an introduction and followed by a Q&A with director Johnny Ma.
To book your tickets for the screening at Ciné Lumière, visit the BFI London Film Festival here and select the screening at Ciné Lumière.
The event has now finished