夹边沟 | The Ditch

The Ditch

A political ghost story that gives voice to atrocious memories, The Ditch draws equally from classical Chinese drama and Wang’s experience as a documentary filmmaker. The film’s realistic style perfectly balances the intensity of the subject matter. This is an exceptional work of ascetic cinematic poetry.

Directed by Bing Wang | Starring : Zhengwu Cheng, Niansong Jing, Ye Lu, Cenzi Xu, Haoyu Yang | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Abu Dhabi Film Festival, Sao Paulo Film Festival, Stockholm Film Festival, Nantes Film Festival, Alès Film Festival, San Sebastian Film Festival, Edinburgh Film Festival

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脸 | Face

Face

A Taiwanese filmmaker makes a film based on the myth of Salomé at the Louvre. Even though he speaks neither French nor English, he insists on giving the part of King Herod to the French actor Jean-Pierre Léaud. To give the film a chance at the box-office, the production company gives the role of Salomé to a world famous model. But problems arise as soon as filming begins… Amidst all this confusion, the director suddenly learns of his mother’s death. The producer flies to Taipei, to attend the funeral. The director falls into a deep sleep where his mother’s spirit does not seem to want to leave her old apartment. The producer has no choice but to wait, alone and lost in a strange city. As after a very long voyage, filming will resume with all who were lost in the underground of the Louvre.

Directed by Ming-liang Tsai | Starring : Kang-sheng Lee, Fanny Ardant, Yi-Ching Lu, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Laetitia Casta | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, Pusan Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Göteborg Film Festival, Buenos Aires Film Festival, Transilvania Film Festival

复仇 | Vengeance

Vengeance

What is vengeance if you can’t remember who it is you’re avenging? Isn’t memory what vengeance is all about? Vengeance is always personal, and usually results in at least a few more deaths than originally intended, many of them more than a little mordantly ironic. That’s part of what makes a revenge thriller thrilling, and Johnnie To’s terrific, slow-burn triad actioner Vengeance, adds a memory glitch to those thrills. Vengeance is a rich, fragrant reduction of To’s favorite themes (male bonding and codes of loyalty, the triad underworld, vengeance) trademarks (slow-motion clouds of blood, unforgettable set-pieces, impossibly sleek cinematography, brooding men, black humor) and actors. One splendid difference: Vengeance stars French actor and singer Johnny Hallyday (adding a nice tip of the chapeau to the French noirs of the ‘60s, when Hallyday had his rock and roll heyday). Hallyday plays François Costello, a Parisian restaurant owner who is in Macau at the request of his daughter—to avenge a savage attack on her family. Costello crosses paths with a crack team of triad hit men, whom he then hires to carry out his own revenge plan—a plan growing increasingly hazy due to his deteriorating memory. The craggy, lived-in face of Hallyday is as riveting as To’s mad scenes of mayhem, which include a fierce nighttime shootout as clouds pass over the full moon and—shootouts being To’s stock in trade—an epic battle in a junkyard that has to be seen to be believed. Vengeance, indeed, is a dish best served by Johnnie To.

Directed by Johnnie To | Starring : Johnny Hallyday, Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, Ka Tung Lam, Simon Yam, Suet Lam | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Oldenburg Film Festival, San Sebastian Film Festival, Pusan Film Festival, San Francisco Film Festival, Seattle Film Festival, Milwaukee Film Festival

帮帮我,爱神 | Help Me Eros

Help Me Eros

Ah Jie lost everything in the stock market due to a severe economic crisis. He now spends his days in his sealed apartment, smoking joints and looking after the marijuana plants that he secretly grows in his wardrobe. In desperation, he calls a suicide helpline and gets to know Chyi, whose sweet and gentle voice causes him to fall in love with his fantasized image of her. He tries to ask her out but is repeatedly rejected. He begins projecting his fantasy of Chyi on Shin, the new girl working at the betel nut stall downstairs. Shin is always sexily dressed in order to lure male customers. He becomes closer to her and soon the two of them sink into a world of erotic and psychedelic pleasures. At the same time, Ah Jie begins to stalk Chyi.

Directed by Kang-sheng Lee | Starring : Kang-sheng Lee, Ivy Yi, Jane Liao, Dennis Nieh | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Reykjavik Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, Sao Paulo Film Festival, Gijón Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Buenos Aires Film Festival, Gindou Film Festival

黑眼圈 | I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone

I Don't Want to Sleep Alone

Forest fires burn in Sumatra; a smoke covers Kuala Lumpur. Grifters beat an immigrant day laborer and leave him on the streets. Rawang, a young man, finds him, carries him home, cares for him, and sleeps next to him. In a loft above lives a waitress. She sometimes provides care and attention. More violence seems a constant possibility. They find another man abandoned on the street, paralyzed. They carry him. While no one speaks to each other, sounds dominate: coughing, cooking, coupling, opening bags; music and news reports on a radio, the rattle and buzz of a restaurant. It’s dark in the city at night. We see down hallways, through doors, down alleys. Who sleeps with whom?

Directed by Ming-liang Tsai | Starring : Kang-sheng Lee, Shiang-chyi Chen, Norman Atun, Pearlly Chu, Azman Hassan | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, Pusan Film Festival, Sao Paulo Film Festival, London Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival, Nantes Film Festival, Mar del Plata Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival, Rio de Janeiro Film Festival

巴尔扎克与小裁缝 | Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

Balzac

In 1971 China, in the lingering grip of the cultural revolution, two university students, Luo and Ma, are sent to a mountain mining village as part of their reeducation duty to purge them of their classical western oriented education. Amid the backbreaking work and stifling ignorance of the community, the two boys find that music, and the presence of the beautiful local young women are the only pleasant things in their miserable life. However, none compare to the young seamstress granddaughter of the local tailor. Stealing a departing student’s secret cache of forbidden books of classic western literature such as the works of Honore de Balzac, they set about to woo her and teach her things she had never imagined. In doing so, they start a journey that would profoundly change her perspective on her world and teach the boys about the power of literature and their own ability to change their world in truly revolutionary ways.

Directed by Sijie Dai | Starring : Xun Zhou, Ye Liu, Kun Chen, Zhijun Cong, Hongwei Wang | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Montréal Film Festival, Marrakech Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, Ghent Film Festival, AFI Film Festival, Palm Springs Film Festival, Göteborg Film Festival, Istanbul Film Festival, Moscow Film Festival, Auckland Film Festival, Copenhagen Film Festival, Milwaukee Film Festival