Independent Ideas need Independent Funding. Subscribe to ICA Red Membership today.
Sign Up for
ICA Daily
To Live To Sing
Institute of Contemporary Arts

To Live To Sing, dir. Johnny Ma, China-France 2019, 105 min. English subtitles

Zhao Li is a woman trying to hold it all together. The Sichuan Opera troupe she manages is creating beautiful work, but it plays to a dwindling audience of the loyal elderly from the theatre’s down-at-heel neighbourhood. With the troupe consisting mainly of veteran performers, her hopes for a change in fortune rest on the shoulders of her talented niece Dan Dan. So, Zhao Li sets about putting on a show to grab the attention of a local bureaucrat who could reverse their eviction notice. For his second feature, Chinese-Canadian filmmaker Johnny Ma corrals a cast made up of real-life Sichuan Opera performers, painting this makeshift family in brightly coloured hues, and injecting humour and splashes of fantasy into this engaging tribute to the endurance of the artistic spirit.
03:10 pm
Sat, 12 Oct 2019
Cinema 1

*Please note that free Red Membership tickets are not available for the BFI's London Film Festival. 

Get your tickets for the 2019 BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express from 12 September at or call 020 7928 3232 (10:00 – 20:30 daily).

All films are ad-free and 18+ unless otherwise stated. Groups are advised to arrive early as seating is unallocated.

Red Membership includes free access to all programmes for £16.66 / month.