2006. Who is the man on the Ulan Bator – Dalian flight? What's he doing in a small fishing village lost in the mists of Manchuria? Who sent him on a mission to China? Why is he going to meet Archbishop Bergoglio, the future Pope Francis? Everything seems real and unreal at the same time, but this is absolutely normal when you’re in that no-man’s-land where true and false go hand in hand.

China Playtime is a film directed by Lucio Lionello and made just of footage archive material. The shooting was entirely realized by the actor Massimo Giovara in 2006 in an amusement park in the heart of China as an autobiographical video diary.

The role that the protagonist plays is unique and full of stimuli: he works in the park as a Catholic priest assigned to celebrate weddings for Chinese people fascinated by the Western television iconography. His stage is the altar, his theater is the church, his colleagues are Minnie and Mickey.

The plot of the film is intentionally ambiguous and induces the viewer to formulate continuous hypotheses on the nature of the protagonist of the story, sent to China by a mysterious agency.

The doubts about the identity of the protagonist are the common thread of the entire film, reworked and reinterpreted semantically with elements of pure invention, in order to create a fictional structure, hybrid and composite both in form and content.

The film is dedicated to Alessandro Tannoia.

Lucio Lionello
Gabriele Monaco, Lucio Lionello, Simone Gigiaro, Massimo Giovara
Gabriele Monaco, Lucio Lionello e Simone Gigiaro
Film Editor
Original Music
Andrea Cremisi
CODS e Giorgio Li Calzi (Musiche non originali)
Mirko Guerra (montaggio e missaggio del suono)
Massimo Giovara
Altri credits

Daniele Mattiuzzi - Wavelife (Mixaggio audio); Damiano Monaco (Color Correction); Patrizia Giangrand, Massimo Giovara (Doppiaggio).

Cast and characters

Massimo Giovara

Production Director
Gabriele Monaco
in collaborazione con Coup d'idée e con il sostegno di Film Commission Torino Piemonte e Regione Piemonte (Piemonte Doc Film Fund - sviluppo dicembre 2014)
Voce narrante
Massimo Giovara e Patrizia Giangrand
Festival - markets - events

In concorso a Venice Film Week 2016; in concorso al Dong Film Fest 2016 (Torino).



Gabriele Monaco (H12)
Last update: 09 November 2022