最爱 | Til Death Do Us Part

Love for Life

The peacefulness of a rural village has been disrupted by an outbreak of a disease, which the locals call ‘a fever’. Villagers learn very quickly that there is no cure for the disease and refuse to have anything to do with the infected. Lao Zhuzhu is a teacher at the now-abandoned village school and the father of Zhao Qiquan, the blood merchant responsible for causing the outbreak. He decides to make amendments to the villagers on behalf of his unrepentant son by inviting all the infected villagers, including his younger son, Zhao Deyi, to live with him at the village school, where they will look after one another. One day, Shang Qinqin, donning a red jacket, arrives at the school compound to join the small community…

Directed by Changwei Gu | Starring : Ziyi Zhang, Aaron Kwok, Wenli Jiang, Zeru Tao, Cunxin Pu | Presented at Rome Film Festival

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白银帝国 | Empire of Silver

Empire of Silver

With this lush epic Palo Alto–based filmmaker Christina Yao tells a story both timely and timeless: a tale of love, succession and compromised ideals that chronicles the lives of a powerful family of Shanxi bankers during the waning years of the Qing Dynasty. Downright Shakespearean in theme, the film details a little-known piece of Chinese history while offering parallels to the current financial crisis with its shadowy world of unscrupulous market fixing and backroom deals. In the northeastern Chinese province of 19th-century Shanxi, a group of bankers amassed extensive wealth and power that allowed them considerable independence from the state. The fictional Kang family is one such clan, whose fortunes take a sudden turn for the worse when several of the family’s heirs meet tragic fates and civil unrest threatens the nation’s stability. Third Master, a hedonist and the Kang patriarch’s least favorite son, is now called upon to carry on their lineage. Torn between familial obligation and his own desire for love and happiness, he sets out to reform his father’s unethical business practices while shepherding the family through the country’s growing unrest. Full of swooping crane shots, monumental sets and massive landscapes, Yao’s debut recalls the opulent historical sagas of Chinese Fifth Generation filmmakers like Zhang Yimou as it combines a passionate tale of unrequited love and a fascinating glimpse of a rarely related episode in Chinese history.

Directed by Christina Yao | Starring : Aaron Kwok, Tielin Zhang, Lei Hao, Zhicheng Ding, Jennifer Tilly | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Shanghai Film Festival, Hawaii Film Festival, San Francisco Film Festival, Mexico Film Festival

父子 | After This Our Exile

After This Our Exile

the hopeless pursuit of happiness, Aaron Kwok stars as Shing, a man who desperately attempts to hold onto the dwindling threads of his family. Once a man who had a dream, Shing has become a deadbeat gambler whose marriage is failing with wife Lin. Shing’s machoistic ego overrides any reasonable logic for change, which forces Lin to leave Shing repeatedly. After finally managing to escape, Shing is left with nothing but his son, Lok-Yun. Hoping in vain to pay back loansharks, Shing turns to his loving son, Lok-Yun, who has somehow retained his filial loyalty. In his most desperate hour, Shing forces his struggle of survival onto his son, Lok-Yun, through thievery and tests the strength of loyalty and the boundaries of trust in their father-son relationship. With each passing day, the bond of love is threatened with Shing’s unrepentant ways.

Directed by Patrick Tam | Starring : Aaron Kwok, Charlie Yeung, Kelly Lin, King-to Ng, Valen Hsu | Presented at Pusan Film Festival, Rome Film Festival, Tokyo Film Festival, Marrakech Film Festival, San Francisco Film Festival

柔道龙虎榜 | Throw Down

Throw Down

Hong Kong director Johnnie To pays tribute to the films of Kurosawa Akira with Throw Down, an uplifting comedy-drama about three troubled souls who find hope when they find each other. Taking place in a surreal alternate reality where all conflicts can be solved with a good judo match, Throw Down is about the importance of finding joy and honor in doing what you love. Johnnie To, who still calls Throw Down his favorite film in his filmography, uses every single directing trick up his sleeves to create exhilarating set pieces that prove he’s one of Hong Kong cinema’s greatest stylists.

Directed by Johnnie To | Starring : Louis Koo, Aaron Kwok, Cherrie Ying, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Siu-Fai Cheung | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival