Chinese Britain on Film
Chart the representation of Britain's Chinese communities in film, from exotic Other to more authentic self-portraits, in a collection of rare, strange, witty and touching films.
Explore the history of Chinese representation in British cinema over two contrasting collections. Tales of Old Chinatown includes films from the 1900s to the 1930s, an era coinciding with a 'yellow peril' moral panic in the press and pulp literature. Shaped by Britain's colonial conflicts, these films act out western anxieties of a nefarious Chinese 'Other' - usually with white actors in Chinese roles. The 1900 Boxer Rebellion inspired the earliest films here, but the dominant Chinese figure of the age was fictional: the evil oriental mastermind represented here by Dr Sin Fang - a barely-disguised version of Sax Rohmer's sinister creation Dr Fu-Manchu. Slightly more sympathetic portrayals came later, notably in Piccadilly (1929) and other films with Chinese-American star Anna May Wong, though their protagonists invariably met tragic ends. The films in Chinese Voices mark the emergence of first-hand accounts of British-Chinese life. Slowly waking up to an increasingly multicultural nation in the 1960s and 70s, British TV featured occasional reports from Chinese communities. But it wasn't until the 1980s that British-Chinese writers and directors began to film their own stories, using comedy, drama or documentary. Warm, tough, funny and poignant, these films at last give more authentic voice to the British-Chinese experience.
Inside Film20143 mins
BFI Curator Dylan Cave, filmmaker/novelist Xiaolu Guo (She, a Chinese) and screenwriter Selina Lim (Painkiller) introduce the ‘Chinese Britain on Film’ collection.
Magazine and Review show198124 mins Location: Liverpool
One of the top TV stars of 1981: David Yip, aka the Chinese Detective, discovers the hidden history of Liverpool's Chinatown.
Magazine and Review show19859 mins Location: Camden Town
Composition is the key as Nancy Kuo guides us through the strength and grace of her art in her Camden Town studio.
Magazine and Review show19858 mins Location: Sparkbrook
Labour, Tory or Alliance - where does the political allegiance of the West Midlands Chinese community lie?
Non-Fiction19657 mins Location: Birmingham
From the House of Liang Nam to the Kam Ling Bamboo Rooms: the pioneers who made the long journey from Hong Kong to bring Chinese food to Birmingham.
21 Days in China - a British teacher's impressions21 Days in China - a British teacher's impressions
Non-Fiction19726 mins Location: Shanghai
"Education must be combined with productive labour", so says a Chinese slogan. Western cameras are special guests to capture 70s school days - eastern style!
Non-Fiction19811 mins Location: Birmingham
The reigning Miss Chinatown joins the traditional celebrations to mark the year of the Cockerel on a chilly February day in Birmingham.
Drama199526 mins Location: Kilburn
Beautiful, bittersweet tale of love, longing and Elvis. Xiao Mei leaves China for marriage in Britain. But her true desire is to find her family.
A young woman is persuaded to help a Chinese businessman to kidnap a naval officer in this fun and outrageous British thriller.
Amateur film193014 minsSilent Location: Wembley
Enjoy fun in the garden, a picnic and a trip to the beach with the Eng brothers in this amateur film
Non-Fiction19672 mins Location: Birmingham
Will a dispute between China and Britain over Hong Kong harm sales in Birmingham's busy Chinese restaurants?
News19684 mins Location: Plymouth
Andy Price is going global with his ingredients from this new Chinese shop in Plymouth.
Government sponsored film194410 mins Location: London
A documentary about the benefits and influences of Chinese immigration on Britain’s home front.
Tales of Old Chinatown
Chinatown is as much an idea as a place. In the early 20th century British films imagined their own Chinatown, defined by mystery, fear and the exotic.