Asian Pop-Up Cinema Season 12

Journey to the West (France/China) - Past Film

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"Well-paced and funny; the film subtly reflects not only its Chinese protagonists but the Westerners around them."— GB Times

Taking its title from a popular Chinese folk story about the Monkey King who goes west for enlightenment, JOURNEY TO THE WEST follows the travels of everyday Chinese tourists going further than the Monkey King ever did—Western Europe.

In their own way, the tourists are also on the road to enlightenment. Traveling by bus through France, Italy, Austria, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland in only 10 days, they have a whirlwind opportunity to learn about other cultures. Viewers are swept along for the ride too, observing the Chinese observing the West.

In Venice, the tourists debate differing perceptions of work ethic. One says that while the Chinese are consistently working for the future, Italians enjoy the present. Another wonders if China will have a similar lifestyle in 10 or 20 years.

With China's emerging nouveau riche and middle class, more people are traveling abroad. And while getting halfway across the world may be easier than before, as JOURNEY TO THE WEST makes clear, it is apparent that many cultural gaps still need to be bridged.

Director Jill Coulon

Jill Coulon has been working on photography and documentary for more than 7 years. She first worked with international documentary producer Christine Le Goff (THE ORIGINS OF AIDS, WILD BLUE YONDER) during 3 years. Then she became Thomas Balmès' assistant on his feature doc BABIES (to be released in the US on May 7th, and in France on June 16th), produced by Alain Chabat/Chez Wam, worked with him during 4 years before directing her film documentary for NHK and Planète in Japan: A NORMAL LIFE. CHRONICLE OF A SUMO WRESTLER (part of NHK Tokyo Modern Series).

  • Year
  • Runtime
    56 minutes
  • Country
    France, China
  • Premiere
    U.S. Premiere
  • Note
    Documentary, Mandarin/English with English subtitles
  • Director
    Jill Coulon