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Liu Jian School Town

Annual Top Films Lists

Top 100 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2021: #84. Liu Jian’s School Town

Top 100 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2021: #84. Liu Jian’s School Town

School Town

We’re still waiting on the third feature from Chinese animator Liu Jian, but this may have more to do with the long game of animation and not the pandemic. School Town, meant to be an autobiographical look at the director’s own life, was announced shortly after the premiere of his 2017 sophomore film Have a Nice Day at the Berlin International Film Festival in competition. It’s the second part of Jian’s planned “Time Trilogy,” which began with his 2010 debut Piercing I, and is meant to be completed by the as yet unproduced Mr. 19. Previously, Jian competed for the Golden Bear at the 2017 Berlin International Film Festival. The project is produced by Dean English and Karen Powell of Perfect Circle as well as Lynne Wang of Le-Joy Studios.

Gist: College freshman Xiao Wang has a conflict with his roommate, disturbing the quiet routine of middle-aged security employee Lao Wang.

Release Date/Prediction: Jian announced he was in the midst of production on School Town in early 2018. Have a Nice Day took three years to complete, so although details have been scant perhaps Jian should be right on time to premiere in 2021, where we would hope he’d be invited to bow in Directors’ Fortnight or even Locarno. Look for the runtime to hover around the 90 minute mark.

Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), FIPRESCI, the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2023: The Beast (Bonello) Poor Things (Lanthimos), Master Gardener (Schrader). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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