The 2nd San Yue San Ethnic Groups Film Exhibition exhibited 10 critically-acclaimed films featuring Chinese ethnic groups and highlighting their cultures.01.jpgModels in various ethnic costumes pose for a group photo at the opening of the 2nd San Yue San Ethnic Groups Film Exhibition, June 29, 2022. [Photo provided to]

The films, selected from more than 300 titles, were screened during the five-day event in Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, from June 29 - July 3. The name of the film fest was inspired by Guangxi's "San Yue San" folk festival, also known as "Sam Nyied Sam." The exhibition aims to bring a broader audience to ethnic films, enhance the communication and integration of people of all ethnic groups, inherit and carry forward the ethnic cultures, and foster cultural prosperity of ethnic areas.

The roster list from China's nine provinces and autonomous regions included the opening film of "A Noble Spirit" (2014), a film by female director Miao Yue chronicling the life of a devoted ethnic Tibetan official in Sichuan province. Other films included Su Li's classic "Liu San Jie" (1960), Ma Huilei's "Spring Returns to My Homeland" (2018), Wang Lusha's "A Story of Ulanfu" (2019), Fang Junliang's "Kashi's Beauty" (2020), Meng Xiaoqing and Xie Yong's "Guard of the Tree Spirit" and a Xinjiang musical "The Wings of Songs" (2021) by Gao Huanggang and Abdukerim Abliz. The exhibition showed the unique ethnic stories of Zhuang, Mongolian, Tibetan, Uygur, Miao, Dai, Blang, and other minorities.

The exhibition comprised five sectors, with a themed forum aiming to explore the new means of shooting ethnic-themed movies. There was also a posters collection, an ethnic costume exhibition, and an ethnic intangible cultural heritage exhibition. The events demonstrated the vividly colorful ethnic cultures and new progress in China's ethnic films.

Cui Zuojun, head of the film administration of Guangxi, said that since the 18th CPC National Congress, ethnic-themed films have entered a golden period of development. "More and more minority-themed films have theatrical releases, entering the market, and gaining access to households, becoming a unique and beautiful feature of the Chinese film market."

He added that ethnic films are the treasures of the Chinese cinema's gallery, carrying the mission of presenting the multicultural characteristics of various ethnic groups and playing an important role in highlighting and building the Chinese nation as one united but diverse community.

Rao Shuguang, president of the China Film Critics Association, noted that Chinese filmmakers have forged ahead in the tide of industrial development since the 18th CPC National Congress. They have worked hard and created many excellent minority-themed films, attracting domestic audiences with their profound thought connotations, diverse artistic techniques, and rich ethnic cultures. They have also made achievements in major film festivals at home and abroad.02.jpgExperts participate in a themed forum to explore ethnic films' future during the 2nd San Yue San Ethnic Groups Film Exhibition, June 29, 2022. [Photo provided to]

"An excellent ethnic-themed film must reflect the new life and outlook of ethnic minorities, convey their cultural customs, enhance the cultural identity of each ethnic group, and fulfill the mission of building a community of the Chinese nation. However, it must also shoulder the mission of building a shared spiritual home for the Chinese nation and form a strong spiritual bond of people's cohesion and unity," he said.

Rao suggested ethnic films should also follow rules of art and film creation. He said making more high-quality ethnic films would be the key to the survival and development of ethnic cinema. He also pointed out at a forum at the exhibition, although many current ethnic films rely heavily on folk culture and replica relics, this must not be the ultimate goal. "More importantly, the creation must pursue the meaning of the human spirit."

The film exhibition also promoted China's poverty-relief cause. Fei Qiang, an official once stationed in a village under Hezhou city in Guangxi, said after watching "A Noble Spirit," he was inspired and touched, and the film made him remember his work in the village.

"As a village official, you should build the village as your own home. It is the responsibility of officials to revive inheritance and memory with culture, and promote poverty alleviation with culture."