二次曝光 | Double Xposure

Double Xposure

Since debuting with her first feature Fish and Elephant in 2001, director Li Yu has gone from rough-and-ready documentary realism with non-professional actors to working with some of the biggest Chinese stars. This stylish and briskly paced psychological thriller, her fifth and visually most ambitious feature yet, plumbs thriller staples of dualities and doubling in dizzying permutations – past indistinguishable from present, reality entangled with illusion, guilt and terror shadowing feelings of love – to a clincher of an ending. Joan Chen in a supporting role impresses, as does Chinese superstar Fan Bingbing, playing a young urbanite whose façade of certainties and comforts – boyfriend, apartment and car – violently splinters in a moment of jealousy.

Directed by Yu Li | Starring : Bingbing Fan, Joan Chen, Shaofeng Feng, Siyan Huo, Anlian Yao | Presented at N/A

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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

观音山 | Buddha Mountain

Buddha Mountain

Three 20-something buddies drift like free-spirits through Chengdu, Sichuan: Nan Feng, a gorgeous and fearlessly feisty bar singer, and her two admirers, bike delivery guy Ding Bo and roly-poly Fei Zao. When Nan Feng accidentally assaults a well-connected bar patron, the three need to find not only compensation money but also a new place to live. They find the apartment of Chang Yueqin, a retired but agelessly elegant Beijing opera performer. Life styles and generations clash: Yueqin tries to impose discipline on the youths, and they in turn mock her old-fashioned harshness. When their reckless violation of her privacy exposes Yueqin’s hidden sorrows, the four learn to accommodate their differences, then how to offer emotional and ultimately spiritual support.

Directed by Yu Li | Starring : Bingbing Fan, Sylvia Chang, Bo-lin Chen, Yue Guan, Li Fang | Presented at Tokyo Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival, Cleveland Film Festival

日照重庆 | Chongqing Blues

Chongqing Blues2

Award-winning Chinese filmmaker Wang Xiaoshuai explores new territories with his latest film Chongqing Blues, which was Mainland China’s only entry in the main competition of the Cannes Film Festival 2010. Inspired by a true hostage case that happened in Chongqing, the film digs into the heart of a guilt-ridden father who seeks redemption after the tragic death of his estranged son. Upon returning from his voyages, shipmaster Lin Quanhai is informed that his son was gunned down by the police half a year ago in a supermarket robbery. The tragedy prompts Lin to return to his Chongqing hometown to find out what happened to his son, whom he hasn’t seen in 13 years. His quest eventually brings him to the painful realization that he is the one to blame, having inflicted indelible damages to the ones closest to him through his long absence and negligence.

Directed by Xiaoshuai Wang | Starring : Xueqi Wang, Bingbing Fan, Hao Qin, Yi Zi, Feier Li | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Warsaw Film Festival, London Film Festival, Tokyo Film Festival, Göteborg Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival

麦田 | Wheat

Wheat

In the Kingdom of Zhao, all the men have left for war and Lady Li (Fan Bingbing), wife of the absent lord, says victory will soon bring their men back home. When two enemy deserters invade the kingdom they pretend to be Zhao soldiers and improvise a tale for Lady Li describing Zhao’s victory. Word of the supposed victory spreads rapidly throughout the town, causing misplaced optimism among the women until the truth is revealed and despair and horror emerge.

Directed by Ping He | Starring : Bingbing Fan, Zhiwen Wang, Jue Huang, Jiayi Du, Xueqi Wang | Presented at Shanghai Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Ghent Film Festival, Tokyo Film Festival

苹果 | Lost in Beijing

Lost in Beijing

Lin Dong and Wang Mei are a childless couple in Beijing, wealthy, approaching middle age. Lin owns a foot-massage parlor. One afternoon he rapes one of his workers, Liu Pingguo, who has nearly passed out from drinking alcohol with a friend. Part of the assault is witnessed by Liu’s husband, An Kun, a window washer. He’s angry with the boss and with his wife, and he seeks compensation. Lin’s wife counsels him and joins in revenge. Then, Liu realizes she’s pregnant and a set of emotional calculations ensues: Lin wants to buy the child, Wang agrees but has conditions, An Kun goes back and forth and barely contains his anger; Liu withdraws. The baby comes. Can anything be sorted out?

Directed by Yu Li | Starring : Bingbing Fan, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Dawei Tong, Elaine Jin, Meihuizi Zeng | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, Bangkok Film Festival