梅兰芳 | Forever Enthralled

Forever Enthralled

Acclaimed Fifth Generation director Chen Kaige brings the tumultuous life of Peking Opera legend Mei Lanfang to the big screen in the highly anticipated biopic Forever Enthralled. The inspiration for Leslie Cheung’s character in Chen Kaige’s 1993 masterpiece Farewell My Concubine, Mei Lanfang was one of the greatest Peking Opera stars of modern China. An actor who specializes in female roles, he was renowned for his great beauty on stage and performed extensively around the world, famously introducing Peking Opera to Western audiences. Pulling viewers into a riveting world of musical allure and historical tumult in early 20th century China, Forever Enthralled follows Mei Lanfang’s amazing, inevitable rise to fame – from his bold challenges against his teacher as a teenager, to his US tour that brought New York to its feet, and finally to his refusal to sing during the Japanese Occupation period. Portrayed in youth by newcomer Yu Shaoqun and in adulthood by Hong Kong star Leon Lai, Mei Lanfang embodies the professional and emotional struggles of a man whose life belonged not to himself, but to the stage.

Directed by Kaige Chen | Starring : Leon Lai, Ziyi Zhang, Honglei Sun, Hong Chen, Xueqi Wang | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Seattle Film Festival, Rio de Janeiro Film Festival, Ghent Film Festival

三峡好人 | Still Life

Still Life

Coalminer Han Sanming comes from Fengyang in Shanxi to the Three Gorges town Fengjie to look for his ex-wife whom he has not seen for 16 years. The couple meet on the bank of the Yangtze River and vow to remarry. Nurse Shen Hong also comes to Fengjie from Taiyuan in Shanxi to look for her husband who has not been home for two years. The couple embrace each other and waltz under the imposing Three Gorges dam, but feel they are so apart and decide to have a divorce. The old township has been submerged, while a new town has to be built. Life persists in the Three Gorges – what should be taken up is taken up, what should be cast off is cast off.

Directed by Zhang Ke Jia | Starring : Tao Zhao, Zhou Lan, Sanming Han, Lizhen Ma, Hongwei Wang | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Sao Paulo Film Festival, Stockholm Film Festival, Nantes Film Festival, Marrakech Film Festival, Adelaide Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, Sydney Film Festival, Taipei Film Festival, Durban Film Festival, Karlovy Vary Film Festival, New Zealand Film Festival, Melbourne Film Festival, Wisconsin Film Festival

向日葵 | Sunflower

Sunflower

The tumultuous relationship between a father returning home after years in a labor camp and the nine-year-old son who doesn’t quite know what to make of this new man in his life lies at the heart of director Zhang Yang’s heartfelt drama addressing the nature of change and the importance of family in Chinese culture. Chairman Mao has died and the Gang of Four have fallen, leaving former painter Gengnian to return home to his wife, Xiuqing, and the pair’s nine-year-old son Xiangyang. His hands permanently damaged by the ravages of hard labor, Gengnian cannot return to painting, though his young son has shown an abundance of artistic promise. Troubled by the sudden presence of a father he has never known and rebelling against the path laid before him, Xiangyang ignites a firecracker in his hand in hopes that it may derail his artistic career. In the years that follow, Xiangyang’s reputation as a talented artist grows while his relationship with his father remains forever troubled.

Directed by Yang Zhang | Starring : Joan Chen, Haiying Sun, Zhang Fan, Zifeng Liu, Jing Liang | Presented at Toronto Film Festival, San Sebastian Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, Bangkok Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival, Tokyo Film Festival

青红 | Shanghai Dreams

Shanghai Dreams

In the mid-1960s the Chinese government, fearing conflict with the Soviet Union, called for strategically important factories to be moved inland to form a “Third Line Of Defence”. Answering their country’s call, innumerable workers and their families left their homes in such large cities as Shanghai and Beijing and followed the factories to the barren terrain of western China. Set twenty years later, as the country begins to reform and open up to the rest of the world, Wang Xiaoshuai’s moving film tells the poignant tale of one such displaced family and the conflict that arises when 19 year old Qinghong finds love for the first time with a local boy, much to the disapproval of her father who dreams of returning his family to Shanghai.

Directed by Xiaoshuai Wang | Starring : Yuanyuan Gao, Bin Li, Hao Qin, Yang Tang, Anlian Yao | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, La Rochelle Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Oslo Film Festival, Indianapolis Film Festival, Alba Regia Film Festival

蓝宇 | Lan Yu

Lanyu4

Beijing, 1988. On the cusp of middle-age, Chen Handong has known little but success all his life. The eldest son of a senior government bureaucrat, he heads a fast-growing trading company and plays as hard as he works. His loyal lieutenant Liu Zheng is one of the few who know that Handong¿s tastes run to boys more than girls. Lan Yu is a country boy, newly arrived in Beijing to study architecture. More than most students, he is short of money and willing to try anything to earn some. He has run into Liu Zheng, who pragmatically suggests that he could prostitute himself for one night to a gay pool-hall and bar owner. But Handong happens to be in the pool-hall that evening, and he nixes the deal. He takes Lan Yu home himself, and gives the young man what turns out to be a life-changing sexual initiation.

Directed by Stanley Kwan | Starring : Ye Liu, Jun Hu, Jin Su, Yongning Zhang, Shuang Li | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Brisbane Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, London Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Singapore Film Festival, Buenos Aires Film Festival, Cinemanila Film Festival, Febio Film Festival

十七岁的单车 | Beijing Bicycle

Beijing Bicycle2

Beijing: young men in packs, machismo, class divisions, violence, and indifference. Guei arrives from the country: toothbrushes, hotel foyers, and Qin, a rich neighbor in high heels, dazzle him. He gets a job as a messenger. The company issues him a bike, which he must pay for out of his wages. When it is stolen, Guei hunts for it. A student, Jian, has it; for him, it’s the key to teen society – with his pals and with Xiao, a girl he fancies. Guei finds the bike and stubbornly tries to reclaim it in the face of great odds. But for Jian to lose the bike would mean humiliation. The two young men, and the people around them, are swept up in the youths’ desperation.

Directed by Xiaoshuai Wang | Starring : Lin Cui, Bin Li, Xun Zhou, Yuanyuan Gao, Shuang Li | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Singapore Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Helsinki Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, San Sebastian Film Festival

西洋镜 | Shadow Magic

Shadow Magic

Director Ann Hu’s arthouse drama tells the story of Raymond, an itinerant Englishman who is the first to bring motion pictures to China. While conservatives frown upon the Western invention, the images are a marvel to peasants and royalty alike. Raymond’s hand-cranked projector casts images that all at once threaten and amaze the Chinese audience, many of whom have a difficult time reconciling technology and tradition.

Directed by Ann Hu | Starring : Yu Xia, Jared Harris, Peiqi Liu, Liping Lü, Yufei Xing | Presented at Toronto Film Festival, Tokyo Film Festival