(IT-CN, 2016, HD/DV, 77’)
2006. Who is the man on the Ulan Bator – Dalian flight? What's he doing in a small fishing village lost in the mists of Manchuria? Who sent him on a mission to China? Why is he going to meet Archbishop Bergoglio, the future Pope Francis? Everything seems real and unreal at the same time, but this is absolutely normal when you’re in that no-man’s-land where true and false go hand in hand.
China Playtime was born by the interaction between the actor Massimo Giovara and H12 FILM. The raw material for the project is some 25 hours of video footage shot with a semi-professional camera in standard definition 4:3, produced by Giovara in July/September 2006 at Dalian Discovery Kingdom in China. The footage captures, in an almost impressionistic way, a time of rapid changes in the Land of the Dragon, in which wealthy new generations begin to consume large amounts of Western culture, reproducing it in an artificial and purely ritual way, in a context of exponential economic, demographic and urban growth.
Ten years later H12 FILM synthesized the material, producing a script that can overturn a classical documentary perspective. The images have been deprived of their original narrative content and have been used to support a new story, a plot that offers layered meaning and a series of progressive revelations. The editing establishes arbitrary links between different space-time and causal situations in order to play with a series of Chinese boxes whose concentricity is the result of H12 FILM’s creative choice.
The film deals with potential new horizons opening for Western spirituality, currently struggling to attract believers due to the fierce competition by consumeristic materialism, along with cultural and moral relativism. Hence, the need to seek new markets, offering fresh and ambitious strategies. So who is the protagonist of this story? A salesman? A priest? An actor?
The film closes with images of the Tierra Santa amusement park in Argentina. This hybrid introduction, compared to Giovara’s footage, complements the film’s narration by reinforcing the real yet surreal perspective of the story, plausible but not fake. The music was almost entirely created by Massimo Giovara himself, together with his band CODS. Other contributions come from Giorgio Li Calzi and Andrea Cremesi, the latter the author of an original track.
Made with support from the Film Commission Torino Piemonte and Regione Piemonte. (Piemonte Doc Film Fund - Development December 2014)
Gabriele Monaco Lucio LionelloSimone GigiaroMassimo Giovara
Gabriele Monaco Lucio LionelloSimone Gigiaro
Massimo GiovaraPatrizia Giangrand
Daniele Mattiuzzi – Studio Wave Life
Andrea Cremisi – Chinese funk
CODSGiorgio Li Calzi
HD PAL 16:9