Love is Stronger than Witchcraft: The Films of Lei Lei
Love is Stronger than Witchcraft: The Films of Lei Lei

Whether it’s a planet being invaded by aliens (Pear or Alien), a delayed mahjong game during an apocalypse, a city of regimented rubric’s cube heads and ping pong players (Magic Cube and Ping-Pong), anonymous tourist photos (Recycled), his father’s old book designs (Books on Books) or a city where everyone has big hands (Big hands oh big hands, let it be bigger and bigger), Chinese animator, artist and musician, Lei Lei, creates (or recreates in Recycled and Hand Coloured #2) environments that often fuse magic realism, science-fiction, comic books and video games into visually delicious, handmade, candy coloured worlds that are naïve, hopeful, nostalgic and occasionally silly in the belief that love can liberate us all. Throughout his work, Lei Lei lovingly celebrates the marginalized, misunderstood and forgotten, resuscitating them with a new air of hope, purpose and humanity. (Chris Robinson)

* * *

Qu’il s’agisse de l’invasion d’une planète par des extraterrestres (Pear or Alien), d’une partie de Mahjong mise de côté pendant une apocalypse (Missing One Player), d’une ville de têtes de cubes Rubik régimentées et de joueurs de ping-pong (Magic Cube and Ping Pong), de photos anonymes de touristes (Recycled), des vieux motifs de livres de son père (Books on Books) ou d’une ville où tout le monde a de grandes mains (Big hands oh big hands, let it be bigger and bigger), l’animateur, artiste et musicien chinois, Lei Lei, crée (ou recrée, dans Recycled et Hand Coloured #2) des environnements qui fusionnent souvent le réalisme magique, la science-fiction, les bandes-dessinées et les jeux vidéos, en mondes faits à la mains, des délices visuels naïfs couleur bonbon, pleins d’espérance, nostalgiques, et parfois absurdes dans l’espérance que l’amour peut nous libérer tous. Au long de son œuvre, Lei Lei célèbre avec affection les marginalisés, les mal compris, les oubliés, et leur insuffle une nouvelle vie d’un air d’espoir, de raison d’être, et d’humanité. (Chris Robinson)


Thursday, September 26 — 9:15 pm

Sunday, September 29 — 3:00 pm

Screening List:

Pear or Alien | 2008 | 4:05

A happy planet of pear people is invaded by some mean reverse pear head aliens. A film about peace, tolerance and forgiveness. Drawn with pens on exercise books.

The Universe Cotton | 2009 | 4:36

The story is a narration of a pseudoscience on cotton plantation. The protagonist waters the cotton with music and love, resulting in the greatest harvest that sky is the only way for the cotton to go. Landing from sky, the cotton turns from cloud into candies in kiddy’s hand.

Magic Cube and Ping-Pong | 2009 | 4:13

Love – and ping pong - can be liberating in a world of sameness.

Hu Lulu Hong Longlong Hua Lala | 2010 | 5:41

One day, a heavy rain floods a small, peaceful village. A brave child swims to the universe to save the day.

This is Love | 2010 | 2:32

After a long flight, a young man is greeted lovingly by his girlfriend. As they embrace, the man spots a hole in the woman’s sock. Can their love survive this?

My...MY... | 2011 | 4:33

A guy suddenly finds himself naked. Where are his clothes!?

Big hands oh big hands, let it be bigger and bigger | 2012 | 6:00

In a city where all the people have big hands, one lonely child has tiny ones. He also has a head filled with odd thoughts, which he constantly talks about with unwelcoming people. His only friend is a wall.

(The film is a project of “Think+ 2012, Shanghai”)

Animafest Zagreb | 2014 | 0:45

Commissioned festival trailer for the 2014 Animafest Zagreb

This is not a Time to Lie | 2013 | 3:30

I’m scared, I don’t dare look ahead

This isn’t a time to lie

(Mountains and water, characters and objects in the film are all made with old book cover)

Missing One Player | 2015 | 4:20

During a mahjong game, a bad situation occurs.  Everyone waits for the last player to show up.  The three have no choice but to wait and sit there silently in tears.  

However, they do believe that the fourth player will come.  They look up to the sky waiting for this miracle to happen.

HAFF Leader | 2016 | 0:55

Commissioned trailer for the 2016 Holland Animation Film Festival.

Recycled | Lei Lei & Thomas Sauvin | 2013 | 5:40

The following images come from negatives salvaged from a recycling plant on the edge of Beijing, where they had been sent to be filtered for their silver nitrate content. Over the years French collector Thomas Sauvin built this archive of more than half a million 35mm negatives, depicting the capital and the life of her inhabitants over the last thirty years.

From 2011 to 2013, Chinese artist Lei Lei selected over 3000 photos to create the animation you are about to see, an almost epic portrait of anonymous humanity.

Books on Books | 2016 | 7:14

The cutout patterns are from my father’s book ”Book cover collection in the West“, which was published in 1988, when China's leaders launched their great Reform and Opening-up to embrace the world.

Many leading concepts of book cover design were introduced in the book and this book had an eye-opening influence on the younger generation of Chinese designers since then.

Hand Coloured #2 | Lei Lei & Thomas Sauvin | 2017 | 4:52

In 2013, Lei Lei and Thomas Sauvin collected a number of black-and-white photos from Chinese flea markets and imagined that all of them belonged to one fictional Chinese person. Through rendering, collage, and a cyclical process of hand-colouring, scanning, and printing, the artists created connections among the photos.

I Don't Like the Comics you Drew | 2017 | 3:38

Dave draws the first page of his comic book and excitedly shows it to his friend Lei Lei.

Lei Lei is not impressed.

Lei Lei,
Chris Robinson, Artistic Director, Ottawa International Animation Festival