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Up the Mountain

Directed by Zhang Yang
126 minutes
All Ages
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Individual tickets for this film go on sale 8 May
Exquisitely framed like the paintings it features, this meditative work about an artist, his community and mountain village in China, documents a fast-disappearing way of life.

Master painter and teacher Shen Jianhua moved from Shanghai to a mountaintop Yunnan village years ago. He offers drawing lessons to numerous guests, including elderly village ladies who produce colourful folk canvases. The women are delightful, chattering as they paint and cook, revealing much about their calm approach to the ups and downs – the very rhythms – of life. One of Shen’s pupils is less serene: newly married, he’s torn between staying and leaving for the big city. His story exemplifies the clash between modernity and tradition in today’s China. Using an aspect ratio similar to a painting, director Zhang Yang (Festival favourite Shower, SFF 1999) has crafted an exquisite, unhurried portrait of a community and the joy of creating.

This lyrical documentary from Zhang Yang is a meditation on beauty. But like the film’s enigmatic central character, artist and teacher Shen Jianhua, Zhang’s lens finds beauty in simplicity.
Wendy Ide, Screen International
Using multiple cameras and precisely framed shots, this portrait is idyllic without idealizing. It sets aside judgements and politics, in order to tell a candid story of community and warmth; one that invokes both inspiration and a real sense of possibility.
Bianca-Olivia Nita, Modern Times Review


Tickets go on sale 8 May
Purchase a Flexipass today and be ready for the release of this and other films in the First Announce program.
Original Title
Huo Shan
All Ages
In Mandarin with English subtitles
Zhang Yang
Zhang Yang, Youzheng Cheng
Zhang Yang
Guo Daming
Wei Le, Zhang Yang
Program Strand
First Films Announced
Company Credits
World Sales: Fortissimo Films
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