With less than two weeks to go until we enter the Year of the Ox, preparations in China are ramping up for the Lunar New Year holidays — even as concerns over Covid-19 spikes mean many will not be participating in the fabled “largest annual human migration on earth” this year.
As brands drop a host of Year of the Ox products and campaigns, two of our favorite filmmakers have released special shorts: Jia Zhangke for video app Kuaishou and Lulu Wang for Apple.
Jia’s tear-jerking short film is based on stories from real-life uploaders on Kuaishou, the app that made its name by building a particularly strong userbase in China’s lower-tier cities and rural areas. It follows the tale of a young girl’s efforts to save her parents’ little shop and save herself from becoming another of China’s “left behind” children. It’s only available with Chinese subtitles for now:
This isn’t the first time Jia has made a Chinese New Year short for a brand. Two years ago, he directed a video for Apple using their latest iPhone model. This year, Apple have turned to Lulu Wang for another “shot on an iPhone” Lunar New Year film.
The Farewell director presents a warming, magical story of courage, family and monsters in Nian.
The short is a charming spin on an old Chinese folktale related to New Year festivities, one that Lego have also incorporated into their Year of the Ox offerings.
“It’s really exciting that we have this opportunity to retell this ancient story,” Wang says in a “making of” video that accompanies the short. She also shows how they shot the film remotely with a mirror crew on the ground in China, due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.
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