International Competition
[VIRGIN BLUE] Bu yao zai jian a, Yu hua tang

Yezi returns back home by the Flower Fish Pond for summer vacation with her grandmother, their memories of the past blur the boundaries between dreams and the reality.

– Locarno Film Festival

Japan Premiere
  • Director:NIU Xiaoyu
  • China
  • 2021
  • 100min.
  • color
  • -
  • Mandarin
  • JPN & ENG Sub.


Screening Dates, Times, and Venues

Sep.20 (Tue.) 13:00-
Bus Terminal

Sep.22 (Thu.) 18:15-
Naramachi Center

* Only if there are vacant seats, tickets are available at the door.

Guest Talk

Sep.22 (Thu.) 18:15-
After screening

movie trailer
I am captivated by the emotions that bind people closely. Even if those with deep bonds do not always stay together till the end, there will forever be some forms of interaction in between. I believe the deceased family members come back in my dreams so as to be with me in whichever ways possible. In that light, VIRGIN BLUE is not about how to face the losses of our loved ones, but rather about how to be together with them. We cannot avoid losing those we love or cease the natural course of life. However, this film offers a way to stay forever with what you cherish.
NIU Xiaoyu

Niu Xiaoyu was born in Hefei, Anhui province, and graduated from Beijing Film Academy with a Bachelor’s degree in Animation and Master’s in Experimental Film. Xiaoyu has independently produced two short films, which have been shortlisted in the 10th China Independent Film Festival, the 26th Festival Côté Court and the 12th FIRST International Film Festival respectively.

Recommendations from the NIFF Supporters

In this film, you can enjoy the mysterious charm of being in the midst of a spell, drifting between the borders of ‘fictitious and real,’ ‘life and death,’ and ‘all and nothing.’
There is an atmosphere of fluffy time and space, and there is an indescribable interest. In some places, there are scenes like storyboards and scenes where the staff’s shooting scenes are inserted. We also hear the voice of the director herself. There is newness in the director’s experimental challenges.


Jury President│Filmmaker

Billante Mendoza

Filipino film director and producer. Known as a Living National Treasure. His films
have been highly acclaimed and won awards at the world’s three major film festivals―the Cannes Film Festival,
the Venice International Film Festival, and the Berlin International Film Festival. After working in the advertising
industry, he became a production designer. He has served as juror and jury president at film festivals held in
Japan, Egypt, France, Malaysia, Singapore, and Belgium.



Momoko Ando

Born in Tokyo in 1982. She studied abroad in England since high school and
graduated from the University of London’s Faculty of Arts. After that, she studied filmmaking in New York, worked
as an assistant director, and made her debut as a director and screenwriter in 2010 with “A Piece of Our Life”. In
2011, she published her first full-length novel “0.5mm”, and in 2014 directed, wrote and made it into a movie. After
that, the movie “Utamonogatari CINEMA FIGHTERS project ‘Aeiou'”, which she directed and wrote, was released
in 2018.


Professor at Kyoto Seika University Faculty of Humanities

Dr. Oussouby SACKO

As a government-sponsored student, he studied at Beijing Language and Culture
University and Nanjing Southeast University. In 1990, he experienced a shortterm
homestay in Tokyo and was surprised by the downtown culture that was common to Mali. He came to
Japan in 1991, and in 1999 completed a doctoral course at the Department of Architecture, Graduate School
of Engineering, Kyoto University. Ph.D. (Engineering). Specialized in spatial anthropology. After working as a
faculty member and dean of the Faculty of Humanities at Kyoto Seika University, he was appointed president of
the university in April 2018 (until March 2022) before taking up his current position. He advocates a society that
recognizes diverse values from the perspective of everyday life.



Asian Film Programming Advisor

Asia│Film Programming Advisor

Jacob Wong

Jacob Wong has been a member of the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society for over two decades, with double-barrel responsibilities as Curator and Director of HAF (Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum). He is currently Director of the Film Industry Office, overlooking HAF, HAF Goes to Cannes, the Film Lab, Co-productions and Foreign Sales. He is also the Berlin Film Festival’s delegate for Chinese-language cinemas.


Locarno IFF Selection Committee, Film Critique

Daniela Persico

Daniela Persico is part selection committee for Locarno Film Festival and Berlin Critics Week and
a curator for L’immagine e la parola, spin-off of the Locarno Festival. She’s founder and editor in chief of the online quarterly
Filmidee ( She has also devoted to help various young filmmakers in developing films. In 2022, she was
appointed artistic director of the Bellaria Film Festival.

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