寻欢作乐 | The High Life

The High Life

In Guangzhou, petty con artist Jian Ming scams naive country folk like Xiao Ya out of their cash and keeps a record of them on his bedroom wall. His girlfriend Fang’s relative wealth comes from being a kept woman, but she’s had just about enough of her elderly patron. Jian Ming seems to be coasting along with few moral qualms until he befriends Xiao Ya and realizes that she brightens up his dull life. Nonetheless he sets her up to be assaulted by local gangster Hui, which finally compels him into an emotional reaction.

Directed by Zhao Dayong | Starring : Shaoqiu Shen, Hong Qiu, Yanfei Liu, Qingyi Su, Lei Diao | Presented at Nantes Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, San Francisco Film Festival, San Sebastian Film Festival

观音山 | Buddha Mountain

Buddha Mountain

Three 20-something buddies drift like free-spirits through Chengdu, Sichuan: Nan Feng, a gorgeous and fearlessly feisty bar singer, and her two admirers, bike delivery guy Ding Bo and roly-poly Fei Zao. When Nan Feng accidentally assaults a well-connected bar patron, the three need to find not only compensation money but also a new place to live. They find the apartment of Chang Yueqin, a retired but agelessly elegant Beijing opera performer. Life styles and generations clash: Yueqin tries to impose discipline on the youths, and they in turn mock her old-fashioned harshness. When their reckless violation of her privacy exposes Yueqin’s hidden sorrows, the four learn to accommodate their differences, then how to offer emotional and ultimately spiritual support.

Directed by Yu Li | Starring : Bingbing Fan, Sylvia Chang, Bo-lin Chen, Yue Guan, Li Fang | Presented at Tokyo Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival, Cleveland Film Festival

当爱来的时候 | When Love Comes

When Love Comes

Chang Tso-Chi’s wonderful new film – his most achieved since The Best of Times – is about the members of a family. They come from Kinmen Island, a dot in the sea just off the coast of mainland China which for many years bore the brunt of China’s enmity towards Taiwan, but have settled in the Taipei suburbs to run a modest restaurant. The family has secrets which don’t come out until one member dies (without giving too much away, we can say they have to do with maternity), but there are no great melodramatic revelations. Women dominate the family; the men are a seemingly henpecked husband, nicknamed Dark Face, an autistic uncle who hates the number ‘3’ and has a real talent for ‘naïve’ drawing, and a new grandson, born in unusual circumstances in the opening scene. The women range from a bossy matriarch to a teenager struggling with the realisation that she made the wrong choice of boyfriend. Chang stirs them all together in episodes which have the authentic rhythms of family life and none of the contrivances of soap opera. He observes them with the kind of comic warmth last seen in the films of Edward Yang.

Directed by Tso-chi Chang | Starring : Yijie Li, Yushun Lin, Zihua He, Xuefeng Lu, Meng-jie Gao | Presented at Pusan Film Festival, London Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival

额吉 | My Mongolian Mother

My Mongolian Mother

The film is a touching epic drama based on a true story. In the 1960s, about 3,000 Chinese orphans were sent to Inner Mongolia. In the Xilingol grassland, Qiqigema Erji adopted Chen Chen and Yu Sheng even though her husband disapproved. The children grew up as Mongolian nomads. But 20 years later, upon hearing the news that biological parents were looking for their children, Chen Chen left for Shanghai in the hope of meeting his parents. Yu Sheng finally did meet his parents and faced a choice as to where he wanted to live.

Directed by Cai Ning | Starring : Renhua Na, Tumenbayaer, Rifu Bao, Ririgui, Haburi | Presented at Pusan Film Festival, Fajr Film Festival

山楂树之恋 | Under the Hawthorn Tree

Under the Hawthorne Tree

The People’s Republic of China during the Cultural Revolution. Jing, a college student from town, is sent to a remote mountain village for ‘reeducation’. Jing is the personification of innocence. But her father has been put behind bars for being a ‘counter-revolutionary’ and so now Jing’s mother must try to support her three children on her own. Jing knows that not only her own future but that of her family now depends on how the authorities judge her efforts to be ‘reeducated’. Jing’s careful and inconspicuous behaviour comes to an end, however, when she falls in love with Sun, the engaging son of a high ranking officer. Given their completely different backgrounds, their love is not only hopeless, it is also dangerous. But their mutual attraction proves to be stronger than any of these obstacles. At first Jing resists Sun’s advances, but he refuses to give up, even when she returns to town. Before long, the two young people are passionately – but secretly – in love. Nobody must find out – least of all Jing’s mother, who already fears for her daughter’s future. But then Sun suddenly disappears, and when he reappears, something about him has changed. Jing has to rethink her perception of love, honour and loyalty. And stand up for her real beliefs.

Directed by Yimou Zhang | Starring : Dongyu Zhou, Shawn Dou, Meijuan Xi, Xuejian Li, Taisheng Chen | Presented at Pusan Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, Melbourne Film Festival, Rio de Janeiro Film Festival, Valladolid Film Festival, Tateshina Kogen Film Festival

钢的琴 | The Piano in a Factory

The Piano in a Factory

An offbeat ballad of friendship and devotion, The Piano in a Factory captures the tempo of changing times with quiet wisdom and a tinge of nostalgia. Steelworker Chen has a passion for music and plays the accordion in a local band with a close group of friends. When his estranged wife returns one day after years of absence, she demands a divorce and sole custody of their daughter. Chen is at a loss. He doesn’t mind divorcing a woman who has become a stranger, but he can’t bear to part with his daughter. Chen has worked hard to give her a respectable life and has taught her his love of music. When asked if she’d rather stay with her father or go with her mother, the girl gives a practical, devastating answer: she’ll go with whomever can provide her with a piano. Chen cannot afford such a luxury item, but the piano becomes his last hope to save what little is left of his family. With the help of his loyal friends and the support of his lover – the singer in his band – Chen concocts several plans to fulfill his daughter’s wish, from sneaking her into the local music school at night to drawing a fake piano. He even tries to steal the instrument from the school – anything to keep her near him. Nothing works for long, until Chen looks around his fading steel factory town and hits on the perfect solution. The Piano in a Factory is an endearing portrait of a moment when the certainty of state-run industry begins to falter. Simple in its measured and assured direction, The Piano in a Factory establishes Zhang Meng as one of the most vibrant voices in Chinese cinema today.

Directed by Zhang Meng | Starring : Qianyuan Wang, Shin-yeong Jang, Hailu Qin, Yongzhen Guo, Er-yang Luo | Presented at Toronto Film Festival, Tokyo Film Festival, Cinemanila Film Festival, Dubai Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Glasgow Film Festival, Miami Film Festival, San Francisco Film Festival, Wisconsin Film Festival, Melbourne Film Festival, Hamburg Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival

百合 | Lost

Lost

Shenzhen, China, the present day. Nineteen-year-old Wang Baihe is a migrant worker from a village in Shaanxi province. She has a baby son from a one-night stand with a man from Hong Kong and a small income from making Chinese decorative knots at home. Her dream is to open a noodle restaurant and “make lots of money and become a city person” but she finds it difficult to find regular employment because of her baby boy. Her story emerges through interviews with journalist Liu Nan, who is writing a book about her. When Baihe discovers her son has congenital heart disease, she tries desperate ways to raise the RMB80,000 (US$12,000) for the operation, helped by her friend and fellow migrant worker Hu Jinling.

Directed by Xiaowen Zhou | Starring : Zitong Wang, Liping Lü, Yaqi Zhao, Ziheng Wang, Wei Chen | Presented at N/A

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

狄仁杰之通天帝国 | Detective Dee: Mystery of the Phantom Flame

Detective Dee

In 689 A.D., the Empress Wu Zetian is building a 66 m high statue of Buddha for her inauguration as the first empress of China under the objections and conspiracy of the other clans. When the engineer responsible for the construction mysteriously dies by spontaneous combustion, the superstitious workers are afraid since the man removed the good luck charms from the main pillar. There is an investigation of Pei Donglai and another investigator that also dies after withdrawing the amulets. Empress Wu assigns her loyal assistant Shangguan Jing’er to release the exiled Detective Dee from his imprisonment to investigate with Donglai and Jing’er the mystery of the deaths. They ride in a mystic and epic adventure to unravel the mystery.

Directed by Hark Tsui | Starring : Andy Lau, Carina Lau, Bingbing Li, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Chao Deng | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Abu Dhabi Film Festival, Glasgow Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, Helsinki Film Festival, Nagaoka Film Festival

老那 | Addicted to Love

Addicted to Love

Old Pop, a retired factory worker, lives in a former industrial area of Beijing with his extended family. He likes going to the market with his old colleague, Lao Chang. One day, he recognizes a face he had been unable to forget: his first love, Li Ying. An elegant old woman, Li Ying seems to have trouble remembering people, and her daughter is openly hostile to Old Pop. Despite these obstacles, the two elders start meeting in secret. Discovering that Li Ying has Alzheimer, Old Pop plays little games with her to exercise her mind. As in his award-winning first films, Liu Hao uses non-professional actors to recount an unusual love affair with a poetic and humorous touch.

Directed by Hao Lui | Starring : Jiang Mei Hua, Niu En Pu | Presented at San Sebastian Film Festival

得闲炒饭 | All About Love

All About Love

A sharp and funny exploration of the complex world of adult relationships, All About Love takes a rare look at the lives of queer women and their specific challenges when it comes to creating a family. Known for her cleverly observed societal dramas, Ann Hui is one of Hong Kong’s most respected filmmakers. Here, she balances the serious themes of motherhood, sexuality and discrimination – topics rarely addressed in Hong Kong cinema – with wit, humour and compassion. Macy, a bisexual lawyer with a fear of commitment, is frustrated by the judgemental attitudes of lesbians, but wants to get back in the female dating game. Urged by her good friends and their life partners to settle down, Macy runs into Anita, an ex-girlfriend who is pregnant after a one-night stand with Mike. Macy, who is also unexpectedly pregnant with her neighbour Robert, rekindles her romance with Anita, but her fear of commitment threatens to derail their plans to start a family together. Anita is devastated when her co-workers ostracize her after discovering that she’ll be a single mother, and this intensifies her thoughts of giving up the baby. Chow, who returns to the big screen after a fourteen year absence, is radiant as Anita, developing irresistible chemistry with Sandra Ng, who brings her great comic and dramatic timing to her performance. While All About Love is structured as a commercial romantic comedy, its themes are radical in scope. By presenting queer relationships as the norm and deconstructing the idea of a nuclear family, Hui has expertly crafted a film that dispels stereotypes on what constitutes a family. Hong Kong, for all its modernity is, at its core, still extremely conservative and traditional in terms of gender roles and family values, with no civil rights for same-sex couples. Hui subtly challenges such ideas and reminds the audience that the most important aspects of any relationship are not gender and convention, but love and commitment.

Directed by Ann Hui | Starring : Sandra Ng Kwan Yue, Vivian Chow, William Chan Wai-Ting, Siu-Fai Cheung, Jo Kuk | Presented at Toronto Film Festival, Pusan Film Festival, Tokyo Film Festival

寒假 | Winter Vacation

Winter Vacation

An ordinary village in Northern China, the last day of the winter vacation. Four idle, aimless adolescents gather at Zhou Zhixin’s home, a friend who lives with his father, brother and nephew. Like most contemporary teenagers, these youths want to enjoy their last day of holiday and simply hang out in this place where nothing ever seems likely to happen. Their conversations are desultory and they sometimes seem to argue for argument’s sake. One of them, Laowu, talks frankly with his girlfriend about how teenage love might affect their studies, while Laobao questions school’s value and relevance to real life.

Directed by Hongqi Li | Starring : Jinfeng Bai, Lei Bao, Hui Wang, Ying Xie, Naqi Zhang | Presented at Locarno Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, London Film Festival, Mar del Plata Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival, Wisconsin Film Festival, Melbourne Film Festival, San Sebastian Film Festival

第四张画 | The Fourth Portrait

Fourth Portrait

Ten year-old Xiang faces a lonely future after his father dies. Just when he thinks he’s going to spend his life in the orphanage, his estranged mother shows up. And his life changes forever… A loveless mother, a hateful stepfather, a chilly home. Where’s Xiang heading to? He finds comfort in drawing and his work reveals his longing for care and affection. Life is full of hope again when he meets the old school janitor who doesn’t show his kindness easily and a portly man who has crazy ideas and is haunted with nightmares of his brother. A scary truth is about to be unmasked. Will Xiang be able to depict his own image in the fourth portrait?

Directed by Mong-Hong Chung | Starring : Bi Xiao-Hai, Shih-chieh Chin, Lei Hao, Leon Dai, Terri Kwan | Presented at Locarno Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Tokyo Film Festival, Mar del Plata Film Festival, Nantes Film Festival, Cinemanila Film Festival, Melbourne Film Festival, Gindou Film Festival, Wisconsin Film Festival

奥戈 | Diago

Diago

The film adaptation of the novel by Macanese writer Lio Chi Heng marks the 10th anniversary of the transfer of the Portuguese colony of Macau to Chinese administration. The year is 1999 and Macau television ceaselessly informs the population of preparations for the upcoming handover. In the atmosphere of the changing society, when some submit to Chinese lessons and others consider emigration, the movie’s protagonist begins to investigate his own identity. Now more than ever he senses his Portuguese- Macanese roots, which always prevented him from feeling at home with his stepfather and sister. The title character’s pilgrimage opens up the theme of the search for personal and social identity on the threshold of postcolonial life; at the time of the transfer it represented a pressing issue for the majority of Macau’s inhabitants. In long, austere sequences imbued with melancholy, the narration captures feelings of dispossession, but it also offers hope, an ineluctable element of every quest.

Directed by Chi Zhang | Starring : Carl Ng, Xiao Wang, Carlos Koo, Sixuan Zhou | Presented at Karlovy Vary Film Festival

无人驾驶 | Driverless

Driverless

Jia chases love and wanders the streets to defy her father. Zhi Xiong lives a comfortable middle class life, but married life does not go well. Zhi Xiong has an affair with former girlfriend Xiao Yun. Wang Yao lost his daughter in a car accident and a women attempts to help him, but ends up getting hurt. Their interwoven stories all unravel through one accident at an intersection.

Directed by Yang Zhang | Starring : Ye Liu, Yuanyuan Gao, Jianbin Chen, Xiao Ran Li, Luodan Wang | Presented at Shanghai Film Festival, Pusan Film Festival

碧罗雪山 | Deep in the Clouds

Deep in the Clouds

The story takes place in a Lisu Village near the Nu River. Di A Lu, in love with Mu Pa’s sister Ji Ni, is banned from pursuing her by Lisu tradition. One day, Mu Pa is arrested after cutting down a plant that is protected under national laws. Mu Pa’s father tries to marry Ji Ni to A Da to settle Mu Pa’s case. On her wedding day, Ji Ni, dressed in a traditional Lisu wedding outfit, disappears into a foggy mountain. Three months later, Lisu people start moving out of the mountains where they have lived for generations side-by-side with their worshipped ancestors.

Directed by Jie Liu | Starring : Ji’Adi, Wangpuze, Nazhiye, Hei Pi, Chunhua Hu | Presented at Shanghai Film Festival

第三十六个故事 | Taipei Exchanges

Taipei Exchange

This second feature by Hsiao Ya-Chuan, with leading Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien as executive producer, is a stylish and enjoyable tale of love, friendship, coffee and cake. When Doris fulfills her dream of opening a café, it quickly becomes overrun with junk offered as gifts. Younger sister Josie thinks up an idea of turning it into a swap shop. As hopes and dreams intersect over espresso and mouth-watering cakes, Doris’ Café becomes a place where people come to exchange their junk and life stories for an object of their desire.

Directed by Ya-chuan Hsiao | Starring : Gwei Lun-Mei, Zaizai Lin, Han Chang, Kôsuke Atari, Jiunn-jye Lee | Presented at Tokyo Film Festival, Cinemanila Film Festival

日照重庆 | Chongqing Blues

Chongqing Blues2

Award-winning Chinese filmmaker Wang Xiaoshuai explores new territories with his latest film Chongqing Blues, which was Mainland China’s only entry in the main competition of the Cannes Film Festival 2010. Inspired by a true hostage case that happened in Chongqing, the film digs into the heart of a guilt-ridden father who seeks redemption after the tragic death of his estranged son. Upon returning from his voyages, shipmaster Lin Quanhai is informed that his son was gunned down by the police half a year ago in a supermarket robbery. The tragedy prompts Lin to return to his Chongqing hometown to find out what happened to his son, whom he hasn’t seen in 13 years. His quest eventually brings him to the painful realization that he is the one to blame, having inflicted indelible damages to the ones closest to him through his long absence and negligence.

Directed by Xiaoshuai Wang | Starring : Xueqi Wang, Bingbing Fan, Hao Qin, Yi Zi, Feier Li | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Warsaw Film Festival, London Film Festival, Tokyo Film Festival, Göteborg Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival

A面B面 | The Double Life

Double life

Hangzhou, China, the present day. Chen Congming, an associate professor at a medical college who is popular with his students, alarms his superiors with his theory that everyone has the potential to go crazy, and that the dividing line between sanity and insanity is paper-thin. The college principal has Chen committed to a mental asylum. There Chen gets to know an orderly, Liang Haichao, who was recently divorced by his childhood sweetheart Liu Yue, a money-obsessed model now suffering from chronic depression. Liu is now engaged to wealthy Cantonese businessman Xiao Chunlei, who’s made his fortune from health/sex tonics. But when Xiao’s six-year-old daughter by his ex-wife Shao Meili has to go into hospital for an emergency kidney operation which Xiao pays for, Liu becomes further depressed that he’s looking to reconcile with his ex-wife. She has a very public nervous breakdown. Meanwhile, Liang has decided that Liu needs “rescuing” from Xiao, and persuades her to get Xiao committed to the mental asylum by feeding him her anti-depressant pills. In the asylum Chen meets Xiao, whom he realises has been framed, and the pair decide to break out together.

Directed by Ying Ning | Starring : Luoyong Wang, Jingchu Zhang, Daniel Chan Hiu Tong, Wenkang Yuan, Wei Kong | Presented at Shanghai Film Festival

杜拉拉升职记 | Go Lala Go

Go Lala Go

Making a fresh start, and believing that plain hard work will pay off, 27-year-old Du Lala joins the China office of high-powered US company DG Technology as an assistant in its personnel department. She is soon befriended by Helen, secretary of sales director David, and later by the workaholic David himself, after he ends his clandestine office affaire with assistant personnel manager Rose. Lala shows initiative when CEO Howard orders the office to be refurbished and, in her first big step up the ladder, becomes David’s personal assistant. Unlike him, however, she finds it hard to separate her private and professional lives.

Directed by Jinglei Xu | Starring : Jinglei Xu, Karen Mok, Stanley Huang, Pace Wu, Ai Li | Presented at N/A

迷城 | Distant Thunder

Distant Thunder

Zhao Po, a poor university student, had a crush on Yin Qi, a beautiful and smart university girl from a rich family. Zhao Po dared not to express himself for discrepancies in status. Later, he accidently got to know Gan Xiu, a girl working in hair salon. They gradually feel the love for each other. Soon, during an outing organized by people from the same hometown, Zhao Po witnessed that Gan Xiu was insulted and mysteriously disappeared.

Directed by Jiarui Zhang | Starring : Siyan Huo, Guo Xiaoran, Ge Siran, Zhigang Zhao, Yinuo Tang | Presented at Hong Kong Film Festival, Sao Paulo Film Festival

岁月神偷 | Echoes of the Rainbow

Echoes of the Rainbow

Told through the eyes of sticky-fingered eight-year-old boy Big Ears, Echoes of the Rainbow takes place in a close-knit grassroots community in 1960s Hong Kong. Big Ears’ mother and father run the neighborhood shoe store, and his older brother Desmond  is every family’s dream son – an outstanding athlete with grades worthy of Hong Kong’s best school. Their lives aren’t always happy, but the family sticks together through all the rough times, no matter how bad it gets.

Directed by Alex Law | Starring : Simon Yam, Sandra Ng Kwan Yue, Buzz Chung, Aarif Rahman, Paul Chun | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival, Changchun Film Festival

团圆 | Apart Together

Apart Together

Over fifty years after the proclamation of the People’s Republic of China on the Chinese mainland and the founding of the island republic of Taiwan, permission is given for the first time for a group of ex-soldiers of the National People’s Party or Kuomintang to travel from Taiwan to China and be reunited with family members in Shanghai. These soldiers fought bitterly against Communist troops during China’s civil war from 1927 onwards, until they were forced to retreat to Taiwan in 1949. One of the comrades-in-arms travelling with the group to his former home in Shanghai is an ageing soldier named Lui Yansheng. His reason for embarking on this journey is not to see the family members he left behind on the mainland but to find the one and only love of his life, Qiao Yu’e, whom he was obliged to leave behind in Shanghai without a word of farewell, and their son, who was born after he took flight. After having made contact via letter, he manages to arrange a meeting during which he quickly realises that Qiao Yu’e, who has founded a family with an officer in the People’s Liberation Army, still feels the same way about him as before. It’s not hard for Liu Yangsheng to persuade his former partner to go back with him to Taiwan. He hopes that, by promising to leave his entire savings to her husband and their children, he will be able to secure the family’s agreement. But his proposal gives rise to a huge outcry in the family. Qiao Yu’e situation would seem to be quite hopeless – until her husband suffers a brain haemorrhage and almost dies…

Directed by Quan’an Wang | Starring : Lisa Lu, Feng Ling, Cai-gen Xu, Monica Mok, Xiaotian Mo | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Melbourne Film Festival, San Sebastian Film Festival, Sao Paulo Film Festival, Palm Springs Film Festival

三枪拍案惊奇 | A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop

A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop

Master director Yimou Zhang tackles an adaptation of the Coen brothers’ classic Blood Simple in this period dramedy full of slapstick and plot twists. When the owner of a Chinese noodle shop attempts to kill his adulterous wife, the fireworks fly. The proprietor also hopes to eliminate his wife’s woebegone lover, but complications and high-flying action arise courtesy of a rampaging band of feudal soldiers and the shop’s wacky employees.

Directed by Yimou Zhang | Starring : Honglei Sun, Ni Yan, Xiao Shen-Yang, Dahong Ni, Benshan Zhao | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Athens Film Festival, Helsinki Film Festival, Rio de Janeiro Film Festival, Edmonton Film Festival, Sitges Film Festival, Sao Paulo Film Festival, Mar del Plata Film Festival

如梦 | Like a Dream

Like a Dream

A Chinese man living in New York suffers recurring dreams in which he meets an elusive, sorrowful woman. While on business in Shanghai he sees her in a photograph and goes in search of her – but instead finds her doppelgänger, a loud, exuberant factory worker. As they grow close, Max struggles to accept the compromised reality of his dream woman. In this cross-continental romance, Hong Kong–Australian director Clara Law returns to the themes of cultural displacement and identity that often permeate her films. Features an original score by Australian pianist and composer Paul Grabowsky.

Directed by Clara Law | Starring : Daniel Wu, Quan Yuan, A. Kyo Moon | Presented at Hong Kong Film Festival, Melbourne Film Festival

台北飘雪 | Snowfall in Taipei

Snowfall in Taipei2

A romantic story about love lost and found in the peaceful backstreets to the glamorous entertainment scenes of Taipei. Seamus is a young man living in an old Taipei neighborhood. One day, a pop singer May is announced missing in Taipei, and subsequently appears in Seamus’ town. With a voice problem and desperate to hide herself, she seeks help from Seamus, who offers her a place to stay, a job in a local diner, and takes her to a Chinese doctor for treatment. When Seamus finds himself in love with May, he finds her heart, however, belongs to somewhere else. He finally understands; one disappears in order to be found.

Directed by Jianqi Huo | Starring : Bo-lin Chen, Yao Tong, Tony Yang, Tzu-yi Mo, Janel Tsai | Presented at Tokyo Film Festival

我们天上见 | We’ll Meet in Heaven

We'll Meet in Heaven

At age 40, mainland Chinese actress Jiang Wenli makes a smooth segue behind the camera with autobiographical coming-of-ager “Lan.” Cultural Revolution-set tale of a young girl, whose dream of becoming a champion gymnast is scuppered by the realities of everyday life and family background, is handled with grace and feeling, and is notably light on the political cliches besetting stories of the era. The audience-award winner at this year’s Pusan fest, this unabashedly old-school movie (in the best sense) is ripe for festival and Euro TV exposure, with some limited theatrical potential as well.

Directed by Wenli Jiang | Starring : Xu Zhu, Jun Yao, Ye Liu, Zhu Yinuo, Sichun Ma | Presented at Pusan Film Festival, Dubai Film Festival

狼灾记 | The Warrior and the Wolf

The Warrior and the Wolf

A father figure in contemporary Chinese cinema, controversial avant-garde auteur Tian Zhuang Zhuang is back with a rewarding work of fearless art. A departure from his free-spirited early works and the cautious intimacy of his later films, The Warrior and the Wolf is the captivating adaptation of a short story by the prolific Japanese writer Yasushi Inoue. In the Era of the Warring States, before the unification of China, thousands of soldiers are dispatched to fight the enemy and conquer nomadic tribes. Sent to remote regions at the edges of the known world, the soldiers encounter many adversities, and the brutal challenge of survival often brings out the worst human instincts. But valiant Lu Chenkang belongs to a different breed. He is brave, loyal and extremely skilled in the art of war. Nevertheless, he is kind-hearted and averse to murder. Though he has a pet wolf cub, he keeps his own animal instincts at bay. When his commander and friend, General Zhang Anliang, is badly wounded just before the incipient winter, Lu takes over command of the troops. Forced to find shelter in the village of the mysterious Harran tribe, he discovers a beautiful young woman hiding in his refuge. A widow shunned into solitude, she has a fierce personality and fights Lu in every way she can before surrendering to his passionate embrace, having fallen for him against her better judgement. She seems to possess the strange ability to take his mind to a place where memories collide with dreams and legends – a place where humans were once wolves.

Directed by Zhuangzhuang Tian | Starring : Jô Odagiri, Maggie Q, Chung-Hua Tou, Zhiwen Wang | Presented at Toronto Film Festival, Rome Film Festival, Hawaii Film Festival

透析 | Judge

Judge

In a small northern Chinese city in 1997, Judge Tian privately struggles with the loss of his daughter, killed by a stolen car in a hit-and-run accident. On the bench he encounters Qiuwu, a mechanic accused of stealing two cars. Perhaps influenced by his emotional state, the outwardly impassive judge imposes an almost-obsolete criminal law on Qiuwu that sentences him to death for his crime. Desperate to mitigate his sentence, Qiuwu agrees to donate his kidney to a rich businessman dying of a terminal illness, hoping at the very least that his impoverished family may profit from his demise.

Directed by Jie Liu | Starring : Dahong Ni, Ting Mei, Liang Qi, Zheng Zheng, Yingchun Song | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Pusan Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival, Los Angeles Film Festival, Miami Film Festival

泪王子 | Prince of Tears

Prince of Tears

Largely based on Yonfan’s childhood memories, Prince of Tears is akin to a sumptuous fairy tale. Alternately magnified through the eyes of innocent children and darkened by the disturbed dreams of frightened, guilty adults, the realities of a little-known era are explored through Yonfan’s powerful vision. As in the best of fables, here too we have a handsome prince and a beautiful princess, a charming fairy and a mean ogre. Elegantly shot, the film weaves the characters and their stories together in a mysterious and lyrical fashion. Yonfan’s pristine touch as production designer seamlessly matches the vibrant light and colour of Chin Ting-chang’s cinematography. As a result, the film’s stunning look provides a stark contrast to the terror within the environment. As both an exquisite rhapsody of emotions and an intriguing historical account, Yonfan’s work is utterly unique. It charms, evokes and informs, perfectly capturing the confusion of adolescence, when the world is full of beauty one moment and immersed in darkness the next.

Directed by Yonfan | Starring : Hsiao-chuan Chang, Terri Kwan, Wing Fan, Kenneth Tsang, Jack Kao | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Pusan Film Festival, Dubai Film Festival, Palm Springs Film Festival, Seattle Film Festival, Moscow Film Festival