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Cinema Nova: Melbourne’s new Asian cinema hub?

CAN’T find a place to watch a film from your home country or just want to enjoy a taste of the “exotic”? Well, Cinema Nova is the best place to be in Melbourne to catch Asian cinema this month. Cherish Li and Cassie Shi report.

First it hosted the Reel Anime Film Festival. Then there was the International Chinese Film Festival (ICFF). Now, Cinema Nova is making it official that it’s the place to go for those with a penchant for Asian films.

The new, self-declared hub of Asian cinema has even released an “Asia Cinema” film list and created an Asian Cinema Page on their website.

For fans of this “alternative” cinema, the changes should come as no surprise. Although this was the first time Cinema Nova hosted the ICFF, Kristain Connelly, Cinema Nova General Manager, says the theatre has hosted many festivals over the years and has a long history of screening cinema from across the globe.

She says Cinema Nova has come to be seen as one of the “best and most popular independent cinemas in Australia” by their industry partners.

“Audiences love the diversity of films that screen at Cinema Nova,” she enthuses.

“We are renowned for screening films on an exclusive basis and the films that we select can become much more popular not only with local audiences but also interstate audiences.”

Kristain says the cinema is unique for its “long-term perspective of cinema” and its understanding of the “growing importance of Asia in the sphere of entertainment”.

On another note, she says it is inspiring to see Western films gaining a huge amount of audiences in China. For example, the recent science-fiction film Looper opened stronger at the Chinese box office than at the US box office.

“This will force filmmakers to always take into account the importance of considering Asian, particularly Chinese, audiences,” she says.

“So, as the importance of Asian cinema grows, it is important to be at the forefront of presenting its most exciting films.”

Kristain says Cinema Nova will continue to screen films from across Asia, and she hopes audiences  of “adventurous filmgoers” enjoy the films to come.

“After all, you’ll always find something interesting to see at Nova,” she says.

Excited about the new Cinema Nova offerings and not sure what to check out? Well here are our top three picks:

Starry Starry Night 

Based on a top-selling illustrated book, Starry Starry Night is a fantasy drama featuring the journey of two kids—May and Jay, both at the age of 13. Coming from a problematic family, May is quiet and withdrawn. Similar experiences bring May and Jay – who’s also detached from the outside world – even closer. When May is told her parents are getting divorced, she decides she and Jay will run away to see the beautiful starry night in the mountains.

The film follows the perspectives of children, discussing the fear, frustration and helplessness they face as they are growing up. The combination of the story  with the original illustrations creates a fantastic and sensational visual experience. A good choice for family viewing.

Plus, Kristain herself highly recommends the film.

“It is a beautifully created fantasy about the difficulty of growing up and falling in love for the first time,” she says.

“It is something unexpected and can be enjoyed by a broad audience that can be young or old.”

The Bullet Vanishes 

This film is set in 1930s China. During a battle, someone is killed but no bullet is found. The suspicious murder arouses massive trepidation. Policemen Bao and Guo join forces in investigating the case eventually discovering that a conspiracy within the police office is responsible for the “ghost bullet”. If you’re a mystery fan, don’t miss this one.

When a Wolf Falls in Love with a Sheep (Opens November 8)

Winner of the Best Script at the Filming Taipei Screenwriting Contest, this romantic comedy is set in a busy Taipei neighbourhood known for its countless “cram schools”. It follows the story of a young man at a local copy shop. His monotonous life consists of copying numerous papers for students every day. But, one day, an illustration of a sheep on one of these papers draws his attention – and from there, a love story begins. Melburnians will have the special treat of viewing the film one day before its Taiwan premiere so feel special.

Cinema Nova is located at 380 Lygon St Carlton. For ticket enquires you can phone no 9347 5331 or visit the website.

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