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Art College 1994

Directed by Liu Jian
118 minutes
Unclassified 15+
Liu Jian’s gorgeous 2023 Berlinale-selected animation is a slacker comedy-drama about a group of art students in China in the ’90s – a time of great change for the nation.
Liu Jian’s gorgeous animation is a slacker comedy-drama about a group of art students in China in the ’90s – a time of great change for the nation that is instrumental to their futures. On the campus of the Chinese Southern Academy of Arts, the students – Xiaojun, Rabbit, Lili, Hong and others – learn, create, argue, fall in love, smoke too many cigarettes and contemplate what will come. As China undergoes an extreme change – moving to a market-driven economy and greater engagement with the outside world – the art world too grapples with whether to maintain traditional methods or further pursue a modern mode of artistic creation. This seismic societal shift is a matter of preoccupation for the students and has a great influence on not only their artistic direction but their future lives. With his follow-up to Have a Nice Day, featuring an incredible voice cast including the filmmakers Jia Zhangke and Bi Gan, along with Dong Zijian, Zhou Dongyu and Ren Ke, Liu has created an incredibly detailed and immensely rewarding snapshot of a crucial juncture in recent Chinese history.

LIU JIAN graduated with a degree in Chinese painting in 1993 and has been working in animation since 1995. His feature debut, Piercing 1, won the 2010 Asia Pacific Screen Award for Best Animated Feature Film and Have a Nice Day (2017) premiered at the Berlinale.
Liu’s drawing style is full of small pleasures, especially in the intricate backgrounds, which, as in his last Berlin title, Have a Nice Day, are where the detail lives.
Jessica Kiang, Variety
The most pertinent message is Rabbit’s claim that anything can be art, something that Liu demonstrates throughout the picture, with the beauty he finds in the banality of the everyday object: the peeling paint, the broken windows, the stag beetle’s futile attempts to scale a wall.
Wendy Ide, Screen International
Art College 1994 attains a perfect balance of humour, thoughtfulness and heart.
Travis Jeppesen, Sight and Sound


Mon 12 Jun
State Theatre
Assisted Listening
Past Event Cancel
Tue 13 Jun
State Theatre
Assisted Listening
Past Event Cancel
Thu 15 Jun
Dendy Newtown - Cinema 1
Assisted Listening
Past Event Cancel
Program Strand
Official Competition
Original Title
Unclassified 15+
In Mandarin with English subtitles
Liu Jian
Yang Cheng
Dong Zijian, Zhou Dongyu, Jia Zhangke
Lin Shan, Liu Jian
Liu Jian
Australian Premiere
Animation, Arts, Asia
Company Credits
Sales Agent: Memento International
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