团圆 | Apart Together

Apart Together

Over fifty years after the proclamation of the People’s Republic of China on the Chinese mainland and the founding of the island republic of Taiwan, permission is given for the first time for a group of ex-soldiers of the National People’s Party or Kuomintang to travel from Taiwan to China and be reunited with family members in Shanghai. These soldiers fought bitterly against Communist troops during China’s civil war from 1927 onwards, until they were forced to retreat to Taiwan in 1949. One of the comrades-in-arms travelling with the group to his former home in Shanghai is an ageing soldier named Lui Yansheng. His reason for embarking on this journey is not to see the family members he left behind on the mainland but to find the one and only love of his life, Qiao Yu’e, whom he was obliged to leave behind in Shanghai without a word of farewell, and their son, who was born after he took flight. After having made contact via letter, he manages to arrange a meeting during which he quickly realises that Qiao Yu’e, who has founded a family with an officer in the People’s Liberation Army, still feels the same way about him as before. It’s not hard for Liu Yangsheng to persuade his former partner to go back with him to Taiwan. He hopes that, by promising to leave his entire savings to her husband and their children, he will be able to secure the family’s agreement. But his proposal gives rise to a huge outcry in the family. Qiao Yu’e situation would seem to be quite hopeless – until her husband suffers a brain haemorrhage and almost dies…

Directed by Quan’an Wang | Starring : Lisa Lu, Feng Ling, Cai-gen Xu, Monica Mok, Xiaotian Mo | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Melbourne Film Festival, San Sebastian Film Festival, Sao Paulo Film Festival, Palm Springs Film Festival

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画魂 | A Soul Haunted by Painting

A Soul Haunted by Painting

The rise of a Chinese painter Pan Yuliang (1899-1977) as she went from prostitute to famed artist in Paris is the focus of this Chinese biography. The film opens with then 12-year old Pan working in a brothel in a small rural town. She is soon hired to become a prostitute after the head hooker retires and is killed. She meets her eventual husband, Zanhua, on her very first night. He already had a wife, but he married Pan anyway, and they moved to the city where Pan studied painting at the Shanghai Arts Institute. The institute is closed after a series of demonstrations of people resenting foreign influences on Chinese art, and from those against the use of nude models. Pan still does nude portraits, but uses her body as the model. She becomes famous after her self-portrait “Bathing Woman” wins a French prize. Since her husband earlier went back to his former wife, Pan is free to move to Paris where her work continued to garner critical acclaim. In China her work was never recognized because they classified it as “depraved.”

Directed by Shuqin Huang | Starring : Li Gong, Tung-Shing Yee, Sichang Da, Fang Chen, Hoi-Yung Shin | Presented at N/A