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

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意外 | Accident

Accident

A self-styled “accident choreographer,” Brain is a professional hitman who kills his victims by trapping them in well crafted “accidents” that look like unfortunate mishaps but are in fact perfectly staged acts of crime. Perennially plagued with guilt, he is also suspicious and morbid by nature. The recent avalanche of memories of his lost wife does not make things any easier. After one mission accidentally goes wrong, causing the life of one of his men, Brain is convinced that this accident has been choreographed: someone is out there plotting to terminate him and his team. He becomes increasingly paranoid, walking on the thin line between reality and delusion. When he discovers that a mysterious insurance agent Fong is somewhat related one of the “accidents” he has staged, Brain becomes obsessed that this man must be the mastermind behind a conspiracy to take him out. To regain his sanity and to save his life, he must strive to kill Fong before he makes his next move.

Directed by Pou-Soi Cheang | Starring : Louis Koo, Richie Ren, Michelle Ye, Shui-Fan Fung, Suet Lam | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Athens Film Festival, Sitges Film Festival, Pusan Film Festival, Vienna Film Festival, Mar del Plata Film Festival, Nantes Film Festival, Fantasia Film Festival, Munich Film Festival, Helsinki Film Festival

南京!南京! | City of Life and Death

City of Life and Death1

Nanjing, 1937. The third film from award-winning Sixth Generation director Lu Chuan, City of Life and Death is a devastating account of the massacre that occurred during the Sino-Japanese War when Japanese troops took the city of Nanjing in December 1937, a tragedy remembered as the Rape of Nanking. Shot completely in black and white, this powerful war drama unflinchingly captures the shocking violence and brutality of the Nanjing massacre, from the mass executions of POWs to the raping and slaughtering of civilians, while providing a deeply human portrait of both the victims and the perpetrators. Rendered in many shades of gray, City of Life and Death touches on the different people whose lives are destroyed by the war: the Chinese soldiers who gave their lives, the foreign missionaries who sheltered refugees, the comfort women, the Chinese civilians, and the Japanese soldiers. In a surprising move for a Mainland Chinese film about the Rape of Nanking, City of Life and Death is told primarily from the perspective of a Japanese soldier, who witnesses, commits, and abhors the atrocities of his army. By choosing to humanize rather than demonize, Lu Chuan offers an all the more devastating memory of the Nanjing massacre, and the people who lived and died in the City of Life and Death.

Directed by Chuan Lu | Starring : Ye Liu, Yuanyuan Gao, Hideo Nakaizumi, Wei Fan, Lan Qin | Presented at Edinburgh Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, San Sebastian Film Festival, Athens Film Festival, Oslo Film Festival, Hamptons Film Festival, Pusan Film Festival, Warsaw Film Festival, London Film Festival, AFI Film Festival, Mar del Plata Film Festival, Palm Springs Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Seattle Film Festival, Melbourne Film Festival, Helsinki Film Festival

夜车 | Night Train

Night Train

What threatens to be a fairly inconspicuous oddball drama, opening as it does with unsmiling court bailiff Wu Hongyan traveling to an out-of-town singles dance which ends in a predictably uncomfortable fashion, soon turns in to a rather nasty game of sexual cat-and-mouse as she falls in lust with the husband of one of the women she has had to help detain. Having flown under the radar of Chinese censors, it’s a slow and often painful film about a woman in search of love and affection in all the wrong places. Be warned: just as you think you’re on the home straight, Yinan inserts a repulsive, near-unwatchable scene of a carthorse being flayed to (what looks like) death; a cruelly over-egged metaphor if there ever was one.

Directed by Yi’nan Diao | Starring : Dan Liu, Liang Qi, Zhengjia Wang, Yongsheng Li, Halyan Meng | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Athens Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, Warsaw Film Festival, London Film Festival, Buenos Aires Film Festival

不见 | The Missing

The Missing

Two stories are intercut: In one, an old woman searches frantically for her missing grandson; in the other, a teenage boy’s grandfather disappears. Lee Kang-sheng’s The Missing is a sad and haunting film which builds very slowly to an obscure symbolic ending, making you want to watch it again right away in order to view it in a different light. While not quite living up to the standard of the best work of Lee’s esteemed mentor Tsai Ming-liang, The Missing is an admirable debut. The city of Taipei becomes an alienating dystopia in this minimalist directorial debut from Taiwanese actor Lee Kang-sheng. A grandmother loses her grandson in a park and spends the remainder of the day searching for him. Meanwhile, a troubled teenager’s grandfather similarly disappears. The two searchers wander the city until, eventually, their paths cross. The Missing shared the New Currents award with the Iranian film Tiny Snowflakes at the 2003 Pusan International Film Festival.

Directed by Kang-sheng Lee | Starring : Yi-Ching Lu, Tien Miao, Chang Chea, Chun Shih, Shiang-chyi Chen | Presented at Pusan Film Festival, Tokyo Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival, Karlovy Vary Film Festival, Athens Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, Flanders Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, Vienna Film Festival, Ljubljana Film Festival, Nantes Film Festival, Bratislava Film Festival, Febio Film Festival

安阳婴儿 | The Orphan of Anyang

Orphan of Anyang

A prostitute from the Northeast, desperate and unable to make ends meet, abandons her baby. An unemployed factory worker decides to take the child for the 200 yuan a month in child support promised by its mother. His early attempts at child-rearing are somewhat painful to watch, but also charming and amusing. Eventually, he and the mother become friendly and it seems that the child will be raised in a sweetly unorthodox family. However, when the woman’s pimp, a local gangster, not only finds out that he may have fathered the child, but also that he is dying of cancer, he decides that he must adopt the baby – and is willing to resort to violence if necessary.

Directed by Chao Wang | Starring : Tianhao Liu, Fuwen Miao, Guilin Sun, Sengyi Yue, Jie Zhu | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Montréal Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, Valladolid Film Festival, Amiens Film Festival, Entrevues Film Festival, Tromso Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Kerala Film Festival, Buenos Aires Film Festival, Jeonju Film Festival, Karlovy Vary Film Festival, Athens Film Festival, Warsaw Film Festival

幸福时光 | Happy Times

Happy Times

Happy Times is a Chinese comedy about human nature when it comes to love and the pursuit of happiness. When a matchmaker sends middle-aged Zhao the perfect wife, he tries to impress her by promising a far more extravagant wedding than he can afford. Then, desperate to make money, Zhao gets mired in a hilarious, tangled mess before he decides to come clean to his fiancée.

Directed by Yimou Zhang | Starring : Benshan Zhao, Jie Dong, Lifan Dong, Biao Fu, Xuejian Li | Presented at Pusan Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, Athens Film Festival, Valladolid Film Festival