We acknowledge Australia’s First Nations People as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land, and pay respect to the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, upon whose Country SFF are based.
We honour the storytelling and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia.

Welcome To Babel

Directed by James Bradley
Australia, China
99 minutes
All Ages
Book Tickets
Buy a Flexipass now and save!
An absorbing documentary about Chinese-Australian artist Jiawei Shen’s plans to create an epic work depicting his homeland’s tumultuous recent history.

Jiawei Shen is an obsessive, determined man. But his latest project – ‘Tower of Babel’ – is crazy even for him (at least according to his wife, fellow artist Lan Wang). His goal is to create a monumental painting of the turbulent history of the international Communist movement. It will take him years to complete, and the work is three storeys high, so he decides to build a new house and studio near his old Bundeena home. We learn about his fame in China through the story of his life: growing up in Mao’s China, surviving the Cultural Revolution, emigrating to Australia, and winning the 2006 Sir John Sulman Prize. Director James Bradley has previously edited several SFF-selected titles (including Finke: There and Back, SFF 2018). In his feature-length debut, he has crafted a miniature epic as ambitious as his subject.

Limited seats are available for patrons requiring access for wheelchairs, low vision and hearing loop. Please contact our ticketing team directly on 1300 733 733 or tickets@sff.org.au to complete your booking.

Special Guest

James Bradley
Director, Screenwriter, Producer
James Bradley is a director, producer, writer and editor with over forty years of film and television credits. He co-directed 50 Years of Silence (1994), which won the AFI Best Documentary Award. Bradley has also edited award-winning films (Radiance) and docu-features (My Father’s Country, Mr Patterns), produced documentaries (Destiny in Alice, Blown Away), and taught film production at AFTRS and Macquarie University.


Sat 8 Jun
State Library of NSW
Assisted Listening
Past Event Cancel
Tue 11 Jun
Palace Central Cinemas - Cinema 1
Assisted Listening
Past Event Cancel
Presented By
Program Strand
Documentary Australia Award
All Ages
Australia, China
In English and Mandarin Chinese with English subtitles
James Bradley
Graeme Isaac, Carl-Ludwig Rettinger, James Bradley
James Bradley
Peter Coleman, James Bradley
Karen Johnson
World Premiere
Australian Films, Documentary, World Premieres, Politics & Economics, Arts, Biography
Company Credits
Australian Distributor: Bonsai Films
Clear Cart

Your cart is empty.

View over 500 sessions to find the right films and events for you!

Browse In Cinema Program

Check out our list of films showing in your area

Browse Films

Donate Today
Help us bring you the best in cinema worldwide.
Booking Fee

Your planner helps you schedule your entire SFF experience. It shows sessions you've saved, purchased or added to your cart in a helpful timeline.

Sign in or register to save your planner!

Your planner is empty.

Use your planner to create your own unique SFF Experience

Browse Films & Events

Your SFF
Let the world know what you'll be watching. Don't forget to tag @sydfilmfest!