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Canadian Cinema

TO LIVE TO SING

(HUO ZHE CHANG ZHE)

Year 2019
Runtime 104 mins
Language Mandarin
Subtitles English Subtitles
Alberta Premiere

Johnny Ma’s moving film about a theatre group’s attempts to preserve their dream and save their traditional art form.

Zhao Li is under immense pressure to keep her Sichuan opera troupe together even though their cherished theatre is facing demolition and some of her group members are looking to leave the team. Maintaining the authenticity of the traditional art form hasn’t been easy for Zhao Li and her group especially in a rapidly changing society where their performances aren’t appreciated like they used to be. Despite numerous roadblocks from the local authorities, she and her group persevere and are given an unexpected lifeline to preserve their dreams.

Johnny Ma switches gears completely from his award-winning neo-noir debut feature OLD STONE (CIFF 2016) to create a poignant film whose implications extend beyond the Sichuan opera troupe to other art forms that are in danger of becoming extinct. While the film is perfect in its realism due to the real life theatre group playing themselves, Johnny Ma brilliantly injects a few surreal elements to elevate the film.

Written by Sachin Gandhi

Countries

Canada China France
Awards
Guanajuato International Film Festival, Honorary Mention, Shanghai International Film Festival, Best Film, Best Actress
Festivals
Cannes Directors' Fortnight, Shanghai International Film Festival, Guanajuato International Film Festival
Director
Johnny Ma
Executive Producer
Deng Jie, Ming Zi
Producer
Jing Wang, Wu Xianjian
Screenwriter
Johnny Ma
Cinematographer
Matthias Delvaux
Editor
Ana Godoy
Music
Jimin Kim, Jongho You
Cast
Zhao Xiaoli, Gan Guidan, Yan Xihu, Shannon Jamieson
Sound
Guido Berenblum