Art College 1994 will be world premiering later this month in Berlin, although it was originally meant to debut in the Directors’ Fortnight section at last year’s Cannes festival under the title A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. However, its participation in the French event was never officially revealed, and shortly before its would-be premiere, the Chinese government imposed new Covid restrictions that made taking the movie abroad impossible.
Art College 1994 isn’t Liu’s first film to hit a government-imposed roadblock either. Back in 2017, Lui’s Have a Nice Day was selected to screen in competition at Annecy, where China had been selected as that year’s guest country. However, on the eve of the festival, the Chinese government lobbied Annecy to remove the film from competition, a request with which the festival complied.
Eventually, Have a Nice Day did make it abroad again, even scoring U.S. distribution by Strand Releasing. Art College sales agent Memento International will be hoping for a smoother ride to global distribution with Liu’s latest film.