Brits embark on Chinese cultural exchange


BEIJING -- China and Britain on Thursday unveiled a six-month cultural exchange called China Now, including lots of Chinese film programming in the U.K. on the occasion of Prime Minister Gordon Brown's visit here and the start of the Lunar New Year on Feb. 7.

The China Now Wow Film Tour will screen 14 Chinese films across the U.K. from April through July, from recent films such as Wang Chao's "Luxury Car," which won Un Certain Regard award at Cannes in 2006, to classics like Zhang Yimou's 1991 film "Raise the Red Lantern," an event organizer said.

"Between the Chinese New Year celebrations and the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, the U.K. will be bringing together a festival of celebrations showcasing the very best of modern China," China Now chairman Stephen Green said.

Organizers said the program aims to advance the British public's understanding of China and forge strong relationships between artists, cultural leaders, schools, businesses and communities in the two countries.

From the end of May the My China Now short-film program will highlight the work of China's contemporary creative community, featuring such artists as Oscar-winning production designer Tim Yip ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon").

Next on the calendar, producers from the BBC's Video Nation will screen short films on July 19 in English city centers, telling the stories of the U.K.'s Chinese community.

Finally, China Now will host the BBC Big Screen series of short films and documentaries by Chinese and about China on five big outdoor screens later in the summer.

The broader China Now program also will branch into cuisine, comics, art, literature, music, design, science, technology, business, education and sports.