一代宗师 | The Grandmaster

The Grandmaster

With martial arts getting more popular in the Thirties, more people seek to learn them via the professionals at Foshan in Southern China. Some of the experienced masters like to challenge their counterparts and undergoing battles. To have their whole concentration, it is their practice to lock up the venues and no one is allowed to leave during battles. No food and no rest before reaching any results. Ip Man is a young rich man extremely talented in martial arts, but he chooses to keep a low profile. Yet this doesn’t keep him out of these troubles ahead. One day he is trapped in this battleground so he has to use every means in order to get out of there. The masters are amazed by his abilities. Master Kung and his daughter Kung Yi are amongst, and the latter is attracted to this newcomer. A high warlord is assassinated by his own guard Yi Xian Tian. All masters in Foshan vow to take Tian down no matter what.

Directed by Kar Wai Wong | Starring : Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Ziyi Zhang, Chen Chang, Benshan Zhao, Hye-kyo Song | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Belgrade Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival

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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

落叶归根 | Getting Home

Getting Home

Zhao is an ageing worker who toils away in Shenzen in order to earn a living. When his friend and colleague Wang suddenly dies, Zhao decides to transport his body back to his native town. He purchases two tickets for the cross-country bus, and pretends that his silent travelling companion has drunk so much alcohol that he has fallen unconscious. Shortly afterwards, the bus is attacked by armed bandits. Zhao asks the bandits to kill him first, so that he can stay with his dead friend forever. Touched by this display of loyalty, the robbers decide to let the bus go. But instead of thanking Zhao, the other passengers throw him and his dead friend off the bus. Pretending that his friend is seriously ill and must be taken to hospital immediately, Zhao tries to flag down passing cars. After spending the night in a hotel, Zhao discovers that all his money has been stolen and begins to lose heart. But he refuses to be browbeaten. Whenever he needs money, he rearranges Wong so that he looks like a beggar. And whenever he is hungry, he joins a funeral party and bawls his eyes out so that he can enjoy the food served at the wake. During his odyssey across China Zhao is obliged to get along with all kinds of people. Just before he reaches his destination, the old man and his dead friend are caught in a torrential downpour, so that now Zhao finds himself engaged in a struggle against nature.

Directed by Yang Zhang | Starring : Benshan Zhao, Dandan Song, Degang Guo, Haiying Sun, Ma Wu | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Bangkok Film Festival, Cinemanila Film Festival, Vladivostok Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, St. Louis Film Festival, Kerala Film Festival, Wisconsin Film Festival, Edmonton 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

荆轲刺秦王 | The Emperor and the Assassin

The Emperor and the Assassin

A lavishly produced historical drama from China, The Emperor and the Assassin tells the complex, multi-facetted story of the man who became the first Emperor of a unified China, another man who has sworn to kill him, and a woman who is loved by both men. Late in the Third Century B.C., when China was comprised of seven rival kingdoms, Ying Zheng was the leader of Qin. Ying Zheng had a dream in which he joined together the seven kingdoms into a single utopian state, and taking this as a mandate from God, he invaded the nearby state of Han as the first step toward this goal. However, not everyone in the neighboring states was happy with Ying Zheng’s crusade, which seemed to indicate a lengthy war with many casualties. Lady Zhao, Ying’s lover, devised a scheme to help Ying Zheng take over the nearby and uncooperative state of Yan; she fabricated a fake assassination plot against him, and framed the leader of Yan, once Ying Zheng’s childhood friend, as the man behind the murderous plot. However, Lady Zhao did not choose the would-be assassin wisely; while Jing Ke loved her and was willing to do her bidding, Jing Ke’s previous assassination assignment caused the unintended death of an innocent blind girl, which left him full of regret and a bit unstable. When Jing Ke learned a closely guarded secret about Ying Zheng’s past, he became blindly determined to kill the would-be emperor, whatever the cost.

Directed by Kaige Chen | Starring : Li Gong, Fengyi Zhang, Xuejian Li, Yongfei Gu, Zhiwen Wang | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, AFI Film Festival, Reykjavik Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival

有话好好说 | Keep Cool

Keep Cool

Utilizing a hand-held camera to create a frantic, off-balance effect that is radically different from the techniques with which he made his films best known to Western audiences Raise the Red Lantern and Ju Dou, Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou has made a fast-paced modern comedy that serves as an allegory for the state of China in the late 1990s. The story’s protagonist is Xiao Shuai, a bookseller who falls in love with the seductive, free-spirited An Hong. To learn her address, Xiao follows her, but An spurns his advances. He refuses to give up; eventually she caves in and invites him to her home for some quick love. Unfortunately they start, but are interrupted at a crucial moment. Later Xiao is accosted by the burly henchmen of An’s new lover, a sleazy nightclub owner. They are beating him like an old rug when Lao Zhang, an old researcher, intervenes. During the scuffle, his prized laptop computer is smashed and later, he demands that Xiao replace it. But Xiao cares nothing for the destroyed laptop; he only wants revenge upon his attackers. Together he and Lao arrange to meet the villains in their club for a showdown.

Directed by Yimou Zhang | Starring : Wen Jiang, You Ge, Ying Qu, Baotian Li, Benshan Zhao | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Sao Paulo Film Festival