过界 | Bends

bends

Bends straddles the Hong Kong-Shenzhen border and tells the story of Anna, an affluent housewife and Fai, her chauffeur, and their unexpected friendship as they each negotiate the pressures of Hong Kong life and the city’s increasingly complex relationship to mainland China. Fai is struggling to find a way to bring his pregnant wife and daughter over the Hong Kong border from Shenzhen so as to avoid the 2nd child penalty in China, even though he crosses the border easily every day working as a chauffeur for Anna. Anna, in contrast, is struggling to keep up the façade of her ostentatious lifestyle, after the disappearance of her husband, amid financial turmoil. Their two lives collide in a common space, the car.

Directed by Flora Lau | Starring : Carina Lau, Kun Chen, Yuan Tian, Lawrence Cheng, Stephanie Che | Presented at Cannes Film Festival

让子弹飞 | Let the Bullets Fly

Let the Bullets Fly

Set during the Age of the Warlords in the 1920s, this comic western is the highest grossing Chinese film ever. When circumstances force an outlaw to impersonate a county governor and clean up a corrupt town, the Robin Hood figure finds himself in a showdown with the local “godfather”. Full of surprises and grounded with a smart, humorous script, Let the Bullets Fly’s battles are fought with guns and wit.a

Directed by Wen Jiang | Starring : Wen Jiang, Yun-Fat Chow, You Ge, Bing Shao, Fan Liao | Presented at Tribeca Film Festival, Locarno Film Festival, Pusan Film Festival, London Film Festival

狄仁杰之通天帝国 | Detective Dee: Mystery of the Phantom Flame

Detective Dee

In 689 A.D., the Empress Wu Zetian is building a 66 m high statue of Buddha for her inauguration as the first empress of China under the objections and conspiracy of the other clans. When the engineer responsible for the construction mysteriously dies by spontaneous combustion, the superstitious workers are afraid since the man removed the good luck charms from the main pillar. There is an investigation of Pei Donglai and another investigator that also dies after withdrawing the amulets. Empress Wu assigns her loyal assistant Shangguan Jing’er to release the exiled Detective Dee from his imprisonment to investigate with Donglai and Jing’er the mystery of the deaths. They ride in a mystic and epic adventure to unravel the mystery.

Directed by Hark Tsui | Starring : Andy Lau, Carina Lau, Bingbing Li, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Chao Deng | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Abu Dhabi Film Festival, Glasgow Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, Helsinki Film Festival, Nagaoka Film Festival

好奇害死猫 | Curiosity Kills the Cat

Curiosity Kills the Cat

Director Zhang Yibai’s second feature-length movie Curiosity Kills the Cat became a hot topic in Mainland China when it applied to the government’s Film Administration Bureau for the Oscar bid, hoping to represent China in the Academy Awards in 2007. The movie stars Hong Kong actress Carina Lau and award-winning actor Hu Jun from Mainland China. Huo Xin, co-writer of the hugely popular Stephen Chow movie Kung Fu Hustle, pens the script of this thriller. Carina Lau plays rich housewife Mrs. Zheng who seems to know nothing about her husband’s affair with a young lady who just moved into their residential building. Deep down, her curiosity, plus woman’s intuition perhaps, has led her to uncover the truth, but she is not aware of the price of being curious.

Directed by Yibai Zhang | Starring : Carina Lau, Jun Hu, Fan Liao, Yuan Lin, Jia Song | Presented at N/A

2046

2046

He was a writer. He thought he wrote about the future but it really was the past. In his novel, a mysterious train left for 2046 every once in a while. Everyone who went there had the same intention, to recapture their lost memories. It was said that in 2046, nothing ever changed. Nobody knew for sure if it was true, because nobody who went there had ever come back – except for one. He was there. He chose to leave. He wanted to change.

Directed by Kar Wai Wong | Starring : Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Ziyi Zhang, Li Gong, Faye Wong, Takuya Kimura | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Pusan Film Festival, Valladolid Film Festival, London Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival, Bangkok Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Adelaide Film Festival, Sofia Film Festival, Istanbul Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, Seattle Film Festival, Los Angeles Film Festival, Rio de Janeiro Film Festival

海上花 | Flowers of Shanghai

Flowers of Shanghai

After a long line of films interrogating Taiwan’s past and present, Hou Hsiao-hsien turned to 19th-century China, adapting Han Bangqing’s late Qing novel on the upscale brothels of Shanghai’s foreign concessions. Denied permission to shoot in the city itself, Hou made his film entirely in a studio — befitting the cloistered, microcosmic world of the courtesans and their patrons — and reduced the novel’s sprawling cast to a handful of central characters. Cantonese civil servant Wang has hit a rough patch with long-term companion Crimson and looks to her younger rival Laelia; haughty Emerald (Michelle Reis) connives with Luo to buy out her contract; and up-and-coming Jade resists experienced elder courtesan Pearl, and has a liason with the naive Zhu Shuren. These relationships — governed by strict codes of money and power — are conveyed in appropriately sensual yet rigorous style: carefully choreographed camerawork by Lee Ping-bin, a minimal editing scheme (37 shots, each bracketed by fades), and haunting leitmotifs from composer Hanno Yoshihiro.

Directed by Hsiao-hsien Hou | Starring : Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Carina Lau, Michelle Reis, Hada Michiko, Jack Kao | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, Taipei Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Mar del Plata Film Festival, Kerala Film Festival, Auckland Film Festival, Buenos Aires Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival

东邪西毒 | Ashes of Time

Ashes of Time

Ou-yang Feng lives in the middle of a desert, where he acts as a middle man to various swordsmen in ancient China. One of those swordsmen is Huang Yao-shi, who has found some magic wine that causes one to forget the past. At another time, Huang met Mu-rong Yin and under the influence of drink, promised to marry Mu-rong’s sister Mu-rong Yang. Huang jilts her, and Mu-rong Yin hires Ou-yang to kill Huang. But then Mu-rong Yang hires Ou-yang to protect Huang. This is awkward, because Mu-rong Yang and Mu-rong Yin are in reality the same person. Other unrelated plot lines careen about. Among them is Ou-yang’s continuing efforts to destroy a band of horse thieves. Oy-yang recruits another swordsman, a man who is going blind and wants to get home to see his wife before his sight goes completely. The swordsman is killed. Ou-yang then meets another swordsman (Jackie Cheung) who doesn’t like wearing shoes. Oy-yang sends this man after the horse thieves, with better results. We then find out what a man must give up to follow the martial path.

Directed by Kar Wai Wong | Starring : Leslie Cheung, Brigitte Lin, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung Ka Fai | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, Shanghai Film Festival, Rio de Janeiro Film Festival, Helsinki Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Sao Paulo Film Festival, Mar del Plata Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Istanbul Film Festival