The Berlinale has added the Chinese animated feature Art College 1994 to its official competition lineup, expanding the field to 19 films. Art College, directed by Liu Jian, is the second animated feature picked for this year’s main competition, joining Makoto Shinkai’s Suzume.
The film follows a group of students in China in the mid-1990s amidst a clash of idealism vs. reality and tradition vs. modernity. There and then, a group of young students pursue their dreams of making art, forming deep friendships and falling in love along the way.
The hand-drawn 2d feature was produced by a team of teachers and students at the China Academy Of Art (CAA), where Liu is a professor. Production took five years. According to the Academy, the film possesses “aesthetics that exhibit distinctive Chinese elements is a significant creative and pedagogical product of CAA’s pursuit of ‘neorealistic animation.'”