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The untold story of 19th-century pirate Cheng I Sao, the great Chinese swashbuckler that history forgot.

In a lawless world overrun by roving ships and ruthless men, a young woman propels herself from a life of forced sex work to command one of the largest and most successful pirate fleets in the world. Her 60,000-strong squad terrorised the Qing Dynasty’s Imperial Navy and even repeatedly rebuffed the Portuguese and British forces. Blending vibrant tilt-brush animation with spectacular, spirited action scenes, Madame Pirate: Becoming a Legend puts you centre stage to witness the incredible real-life story of a fierce, formidable woman.

How to access MIFF XR

  • 10–16 August: in person at ACMI’s Swinburne Studio (12–6pm, free – no booking required)
  • 5–28 August: from your home via the MIFF XR Gallery