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Chinese Voices

Since the 1980s Chinese and British-Chinese filmmakers have been telling their own stories about living in the UK. These funny, tender and insightful tales reframe the UK's recent past and explore its multicultural present.

The UK's thriving Chinese community was poorly served on British screens for decades, despite a presence since the 16th Century. Chinese characters were rare, frequently exoticised and even, in the early days, played by white actors in make-up. It wasn't until the 1980s that British-Chinese filmmakers began to make their own films exploring the British-Chinese experience at first hand. In Soursweet, adapted from Timothy Mo's Booker-shortlisted novel, a young Chinese couple balanced their inherited and adoptive cultures. Both Po-Chih Leong's Ping Pong and Kevin Wong's Peggy Su! poke gentle fun at the cultural divisions between the generations. Many of the Chinese voices in this collection have poignant personal tales to tell. Blue Funnel delves into emotive questions surrounding ideas of home and the cultural dislocation of second-generation British Chinese. Yellow Fever exposes the prejudices of a gay Chinese man, while Red deals with the challenge of adapting to a new country with a strange language. Meanwhile modern filmmakers Xiaolu Guo, Jane Wong and Selina Lim chart the friction when traditional Chinese values brush up against an often unyielding British culture.

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The Receptionist
Rent for £3.50

The Receptionist

Drama2016102 minsDirector: Jenny Lu

A Taiwanese graduate begins work at a massage parlour, in this illuminating and authentic depiction of the migrant experience at London's margins.

We Went to Wonderland
Rent for £2.50

We Went to Wonderland

Documentary200872 minsDirector: Xiaolu Guo

British-Chinese filmmaker Xiaolu Guo follows her ageing parents' journey to the West as they visit Europe. A rare chance to see one of Guo’s most personal films.

Soursweet
Rent for £3.50

Soursweet

Drama1988111 minsDirector: Mike Newell

Hong Kong newlyweds seek a fresh start in 60s Britain, but fall foul of the Triad underworld in this adaptation of Timothy Mo's blackly comic novel.

Dim Sum (A Little Bit of Heart)
Rent for £2.50

Dim Sum (A Little Bit of Heart)

Student film200238 minsDirector: Jane Wong

Documentarist Jane Wong films her mother and two Chinese friends as they discuss their lives and experiences as émigrés living in Liverpool.

Mercutio's Dreaming
Rent for £1.00

Mercutio's Dreaming

Comedy201116 minsDirector: Jennifer Lim

The travails of a British-Chinese, would-be Shakespearean actor, in an industry that sees him only as an 'Oriental'.

Ping Pong
Rent for £3.50

Ping Pong

Comedy1986100 minsDirector: Leong Po-Chih

A young lawyer has to execute the will of a Chinese man found dead in a phone box in a witty comic thriller - the first British-Chinese feature film.

Lilting
Rent for £3.50

Lilting

Drama201386 minsDirector: Hong Khaou

Ben Whishaw stars in an intimate portrait of two strangers brought together by the common language of grief.

Yellow Fever
Rent for £1.00

Yellow Fever

Comedy199827 minsDirector: Raymond Yeung

A gay British-Chinese man refuses to date Chinese men. But then Jai Ming moves in next door.

Grow Your Own
Rent for £3.50

Grow Your Own

Comedy200797 minsDirector: Richard Laxton

A group of Merseyside gardeners take umbrage to the arrival of some refugees, but they find common cause to resist a devious corporate takeover.

3 Mile Radius
Currently unavailable

3 Mile Radius

Drama201116 minsDirector: Lab Ky Mo

A dying Chinese man returns to his estranged wife to ask permission to see his son for the last time. When his wife refuses, he has to resort to desperate measures…

My Dad the Communist
Currently unavailable

My Dad the Communist

Drama200917 minsDirector: Lab Ky Mo

Tony yearns to break down the cultural barriers between him and his inscrutable Chinese father, before it’s too late.

Foreign Moon
Rent for £2.50

Foreign Moon

Drama199687 minsDirector: Zhang Zeming

A beautiful tale of three Chinese migrants who find love and companionship while struggling to work and survive in London.