Contemporary Chinese folk singer and songwriter Miss Melody brings you a story about Beijing, the joy and pain, struggle and confusion, dreams and delusions of living in the city, presented through her productions with UK producer Mobidextrous, featuring movie “This is Sanlitun” by Icelandic film director, screenwriter and cinematographer Róbert Ingi Douglas.
About Miss Melody
Haunting, Childlike, Delicate, Operatic, Melancholic. Adjectives aside, Miss Melody is putting an original stamp on the international music scene. Although she is fluent in English, she chooses to sing in Mandarin Chinese to convey the subtle and sometimes indirect connotations of her heartfelt and emotive tracks.
She says that she doesn't want to be 'lost in translation'. She doesn't like the ideas brought forth by tags like "fusion", "crossover" or "world" music. Her desire is to create a harmonious balance of both western electro-dubstep leanings with ancient Chinese themes and poetries.
Embracing the lyrical virtues of ancient Chinese Poetry from Song and Tang Dynasties, her music is at times uplifting and proud, at other times dark and polluted. Even if you don't speak or understand Mandarin Chinese, her messages transcend language.
About This is Sanlitun
A pair of hapless ex-pats discover that Beijing isn’t the hotbed of entrepreneurial opportunity they had anticipated in this hilarious and timely look at the West’s obsession with the East.
(From TIFF 2013)
Robert I. Douglas returns to the Toronto International Festival with a comic look at the West's obsession with the East, presented through the lives of ex-pats living and working in China. British sad sack Gary (Carlos Ottery) is a failed entrepreneur who has just arrived in Beijing's stylish Sanlitun district, allegedly to start a business. (He seems to be importing some deeply suspicious hair tonic from North Korea.) Moreover, he's bored with the Occident. "The West is done for me now," he opines.
There are other reasons why he has uprooted himself — he's followed his ex-wife (Ai Wan) and young son, for one — but he soon finds out that China isn't the easiest place to succeed. Blissfully untouched by self-awareness, and only fitfully in tune with reality, Gary sallies forth to make money, armed with faith in himself and little to no knowledge of Chinese culture. He soon hooks up with Frank (Chris Loton), a trust-fund kid from Australia who offers to mentor Gary in Eastern ways, although Frank's pedagogical method is restricted to yelling at Gary for being a Westerner and not being as "Chinese" as him.
As with all of Douglas's comedies, This is Sanlitun centres on a protagonist who seeks and even initiates change, but soon finds himself slipping back into old habits, with amusingly catastrophic results. At the same time, it is also a portrait of unlikely friendships. As Gary's luck ebbs and flows, it becomes clear that the only person he can entirely count on is Frank. This is Sanlitun is a genuinely hilarious riff, much of it developed through improv, on George Orwell's famous remark about expatriates inevitably creating social circles consisting of misfits, dropouts, and other ex-pats. It plays like a Henry Miller novel filtered through an Ealing comedy — if Miller were more interested in beer than sex.
- Steve Gravestock (TIFF)