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Tilda Swinton, passionate promoter of culture
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By Pang Li

 Poster of 'Scottish Cinema of Dreams'

Poster of "Scottish Cinema of Dreams"

In late March, I joined a Scottish film festival party – Scottish Cinema of Dreams – hosted by Oscar winner Tilda Swinton and film scholar Mark Cousins. For me, this was an incredible experience; not only did I get a chance of having a glimpse into Scottish cinematic heritage, but I also witnessed how devoted a highly accomplished artist like Ms Swinton is to promoting her homeland's cinematic culture. Undoubtedly she sets a good example for those in the field of cultural exchange. Devotion, passion, love and sincerity – all of those are needed for cultural promotion.

Around 7 pm on March 20, I was queuing for an admission ticket in front of China Film Archive in downtown Beijing. Ahead of me, an elderly lady was complaining in Chinese that she had waited for about two hours and still did not have a ticket. A tall, slim and handsome lady in T-shirt and kilt repeated, "Don't worry; you will get your ticket!" Although she spoke English, she had obviously got a grasp of what the elderly woman was complaining about. She turned out to be the Oscar winning actress herself, Tilda Swinton.

Tilda Swinto talks to a film fan at China Film Archive March 23.

Tilda Swinto talks to a film fan at China Film Archive March 23. [John Sexton]

She was just a few inches away from me, so close that I was awe-struck. My God! After so many years of obsession with Western films, I could finally meet and observe a major star up close. But I hadn't brought a camera to take her picture or anything else that she could sign. What a great pity! I just hadn't expected to get so close to the star. Speechless, I stood there kind of frozen, smiling at the actress and wishing I could come up with something to say. This was my first encounter with Ms Swinton. The next two evenings when I went to event, she was always right there to welcome everybody.

Walking into the film screening venue, I was a little confused as I passed along a corridor lined by artificial trees. At the beginning of the corridor, a number of staff members including Ms Swinton's beautiful twins handed out cards or offered visitors a drop of scented oil to experience the fragrance of Scotland. Entering the screening room, I found myself surrounded by three screens showing Scotland's forest scenery and moving winter landscapes. Meanwhile, birds sang and light music played from amplifiers behind us. On the ceiling there were LED lights scattered like stars. The blend of sounds and visuals made me want to visit Scotland some day. There were green bean bags and chairs for audience to relax, the ensemble managing to create a very personal atmosphere.

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Tilda Swinton, passionate promoter of culture
Oscar winning actress Tilda Swinton came to China to promote Scottish cinema through a three-day event, "Scottish Cinema of Dreams" in late March.
Tilda Swinton, passionate promoter of culture
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