赵氏孤儿 | Sacrifice

Sacrifice

For more than four generations the members of the Zhao clan have held the highest positions in the land. Zhao Dun is currently chancellor and his son, Zhao Shuo, a general in the royal army. He is married to the king’s older sister, Zhuang Ji. Tu’an Gu, the Zhao’s arch-enemy, is not content to accept the clan’s power and influence; he incites a massacre which decimates the entire Zhao clan – over 300 members of this family fall victim to the carnage which leaves no-one alive. As her husband faces death, Zhuang Ji goes into labour and gives birth to the last Zhao. She dies in childbirth and the doctor, Cheng Ying, takes the baby into his care. This news reaches Tu’an Gu and, angered that his plan to wipe out the clan might be thwarted, he takes all the babies of the city hostage until the last descendant of the Zhao is found. The doctor Cheng Ying has also just become a father. When Tu’an Gu’s soldiers arrive to take away his son, his wife hides her own child and gives the soldiers the little Zhao, pretending that he is her child. Shortly afterwards they find the baby that Cheng Ying’s wife was hiding. Taking him to be the last member of the Zhao clan, Tu’an Gu has the boy killed. The townsfolk’s children that were being held hostage are given back to their families. The last Zhao now grows up as Cheng Ying’s son in the doctor’s house. Years go by. Cheng Ying decides to take his step-son with him to serve at Tu’an Gu’s court. Tu’an Gu becomes a patron of the last Zhao. But Cheng Ying has other plans in mind – plans in which his step-son will play a central role.

Directed by Kaige Chen | Starring : You Ge, Xueqi Wang, Fengyi Zhang, Xiaoming Huang, Bingbing Fan | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Mill Valley Film Festival, Rio de Janeiro Film Festival, Abu Dhabi Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival

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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