Clifford Borg Marks

Art Break-In

63 mins. In Putonghua with English subtitles.

Clifford Borg-Marks, Producer

Yang Lihua, Director



Art Break-In, dir. Yang Lihua, China, 63 mins

Our inaugural DIORAMA PROJECTION will feature Art Break-In directed by Yang Lihua, a fascinating documentary charting the progress of five young art students as they try to enter China’s art education system.

Art Break-In takes us into the bleak lives of a group of young Chinese students preparing for the annual entrance exams for the Central Fine Arts Academy and other leading fine arts institutions. 

The background is the gritty and grim cityscape of present-day China. The microcosm of anxiety and hope we observe in the coastal province of Shandong is replayed thousands of times over across China during the Spring scramble for a university place. Millions of students will compete for a few thousand places.

The frantic and grueling preparation of this group of four young friends is all the more heartbreaking when we observe the huge sacrifices made by the parents.

This film gives a truly uncensored look into the lives of these young people. The nonchalance of the four aspiring artists towards the camera recording their lives is breathtaking. We the viewers are forced to become the fly on the wall, a filmmaker’s dream, by the dogged focus of the students to obtain the prize of a university place. Inhibition falls by the wayside.

Art Break-In gives us a view of the intense pressure that China’s youth submit to. The stakes are high, the competition daunting. Remarkably, beauty, generosity and fine sensitivity persist.

Producer Clifford Borg-Marks arrived in China in 1977 as a young student and basically stayed. He has worked as a scuba diver, as an actor, as a diplomat for his native Malta and as an intellectual property lawyer for international law firms. He now also produces and directs documentaries.

Cliff’s film on Subbuteo table football, “The Hobby”, won the Guirlande d’Honneur, the top prize for documentaries, at the Milan Sport Movies & TV International Festival in 2005, and his “Sinews”, a documentary on the history of modern sport in China told through excerpts from Chinese sport movies since 1949, won the Paladino d’Oro for Best Foreign Film at the Palermo International Sport Film Festival in 2008. Cliff has also served as Production Manager on a number of European feature films and documentaries shot on location in China. He now splits his time between Hong Kong, Beijing and Ulaanbaatar.

Cliff will be present at the screening to give a short talk about the film and is available for interviews either in person or by email or telephone.


Tuesday 24 August 2010 at 7.00pm

2P Contemporary Art Gallery, Hong Kong