夺命金 | Life Without Principle

Life Without Principle

Life Without Principle tells the story of three characters: an ordinary bank teller turned financial analyst is forced to sell high risk securities to her customers in order to meet her sales target; a small-time thug delves into the futures index hoping to earn easy money to post bail for a buddy in trouble with the law; a straight-arrow Police inspector, who has always enjoyed his middle income lifestyle, is suddenly desperate for money when his wife puts a down payment on a luxury flat she can’t afford and his dying father wants him to look after a young half-sister he never knew he had.

Directed by Johnnie To | Starring : Ching Wan Lau, Richie Ren, Denise Ho, Myolie Wu, Hoi-Pang Lo | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, San Sebastian Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, Pusan Film Festival, Mar del Plata Film Festival, Wisconsin Film Festival, San Francisco Film Festival, Edinburgh Film Festival, Changchun Film Festival, Locarno Film Festival

岁月神偷 | Echoes of the Rainbow

Echoes of the Rainbow

Told through the eyes of sticky-fingered eight-year-old boy Big Ears, Echoes of the Rainbow takes place in a close-knit grassroots community in 1960s Hong Kong. Big Ears’ mother and father run the neighborhood shoe store, and his older brother Desmond  is every family’s dream son – an outstanding athlete with grades worthy of Hong Kong’s best school. Their lives aren’t always happy, but the family sticks together through all the rough times, no matter how bad it gets.

Directed by Alex Law | Starring : Simon Yam, Sandra Ng Kwan Yue, Buzz Chung, Aarif Rahman, Paul Chun | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival, Changchun Film Festival

太阳照常升起 | The Sun Also Rises

The Sun Also Rises

Wen Jiang’s personality takes center stage in The Sun Also Rises, his first effort since the 2000 Devils on the Doorstep, a film that has yet to be released in China. While The Sun Also Rises captivates with its sumptuous colors, magical realism, high energy, and outstanding performances, its elliptical plot and lack of coherent narrative suggests that Jiang may have purposely clouded the film’s meaning in symbols and code to escape the Chinese censors. Loosely based on author Ye Mi’s novel Velvet, the film is set in China during the Cultural Revolution. There are four stories and six characters in the film, but they have a tenuous connection to each other. Three episodes are set in the 1970s and one twenty years earlier, but Jiang provides no intertitles or other indicators to help the viewer recognize changes in theme, time, or place. As the film opens with a tableau of gorgeous colors and people running, a young woman identified as the mother of a teenage boy buys a pair of embroidered shoes. The colorful shoes are promptly stolen by a mysterious bird, which repeats the mantra “I know, I know, I know,” and the woman falls into what seems to be madness—climbing trees, collecting rocks, digging a pit in the middle of the forest, and screaming the name of Alyosha (which we eventually learn was the name of the boy’s father). Meanwhile her dutiful son tries to protect her, at the cost of having to constantly leave his job. The segment is playful, magical, and poetic in its songs and poetry, and it suggests that insanity reigned supreme during the Cultural Revolution.

Directed by Wen Jiang | Starring : Wen Jiang, Joan Chen, Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, Jaycee Chan, Wei Kong | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Changchun Film Festival, Tokyo Film Festival, Locarno Film Festival

情人结 | A Time to Love

A Time to Love

The theme of impossible love is timeless. It is as touching in the Shakespearean era as in the 1980s. A boy and a girl grew up together and fell in love with each other in the early 80s. The strong hatred between their families was an obstacle to their love. Dating would bring disasters while separation would be a torture. Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet inspired them to insist on their love, but that love was still too fragile to resist pressure from their families. He was sent abroad seven years ago and she has waited for seven years until he returns now. Can the love between them be everlasting? A Time to Love, released near Valentine’s Day, is promoted as a modern day Chinese version of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Popular idols Vicky Zhao Wei and Lu Yi both take on new images in this artistic film. Award-winning director Huo Jianqi designs the most aesthetic scenes to convey to his audience the most intense romance.

Directed by Jianqi Huo | Starring : Wei Zhao, Yi Lu, Xiaoying Song, Minjie Cui, Qian Zhang | Presented at Shanghai Film Festival, Changchun Film Festival

想飞 | Princess D

Princess D

When Joker meets Ling in a disco one night, he feels that he has found the perfect model of his dream project princess-d. Bases on the image of Ling, he plans to create a novel virtual idol on the internet. In reality, however, Ling is the opposite of the perfect image. Her father is jailed for life, her mother remains half-conscious after an attack, and her brother holds no proper job but only wants to make himself known in the gang. Together with Joker’s younger brother Kid, the trio works hard toward their goal while problems keep running out of hand…

Directed by Sylvia Chang, Alan Yuen | Starring : Sylvia Chang, Rene Liu, Angelica Lee, Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, Pat Ha | Presented at Changchun Film Festival, Oldenburg Film Festival

男人四十 | July Rhapsody

July Rhapsody

Jacky Cheung plays Lam Yiu Kwok, a Hong Kong secondary school teacher who is facing a mid-life crisis. While he has only his pride and Chinese poetry to fall back on, his peers are successful businessmen and professionals who flaunt their extravagant lifestyles at reunion dinners. After all these years, Lam is still living in a modest apartment with his wife, Man Ching and two teenage sons. However financial stagnancy is not his only problem. An old flame of Man Ching (who was the couple’s former schoolteacher) returns to Hong Kong and uncovers old wounds. Man Ching feels obliged to help her ex-lover. Meanwhile Yiu Kwok faces another dilemma: Choy Lam, a precocious student, has a crush on him and the ‘forbidden fruit’ looks more and more tempting in the light of his wife’s ‘infidelity’. Will he succumb to young charms and let history repeat itself?

Directed by Ann Hui | Starring : Jacky Cheung, Anita Mui, Kar Yan Lam, Eric Kot, Shaun Tam | Presented at Changchun Film Festival, Ghent Film Festival, Philadelphia Film Festival

洗澡 | Shower


Shenzhen businessman, Da Ming, goes home to Beijing when he thinks his father has died. He finds his father hard at work at the family’s bathhouse (the false message was a ruse of Da’s mentally-handicapped, exuberant brother, Er Ming, to get Da home). Da stays a couple days, observing his father being social director, marriage counselor, and dispute mediator for his customers and a boon companion to Er. Da is caught between worlds: the decaying district of his childhood and the booming south where he now lives with a wife who’s not met his family. When Da realizes his father’s health is failing and the district is slated for razing, he must take stock of family and future.

Directed by Yang Zhang | Starring : Xu Zhu, Cunxin Pu, Wu Jiang, Ding Li, Bing He | Presented at Toronto Film Festival, San Sebastian Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Buenos Aires Film Festival, Seattle Film Festival, Changchun Film Festival, Calgary Film Festival, Jakarta Film Festival

一个都不能少 | Not One Less

Not One Less

Set in the People’s Republic of China during the 1990s, the film centers on a 13-year-old substitute teacher, Wei Minzhi, in the Chinese countryside. Called in to substitute for a village teacher for one month, Wei is told not to lose any students. When one of the boys takes off in search of work in the big city, she goes looking for him. The film addresses education reform in China, the economic gap between urban and rural populations, and the prevalence of bureaucracy and authority figures in everyday life. It is filmed in a neorealist/documentary style with a troupe of non-professional actors who play characters with the same names and occupations as the actors have in real life, blurring the boundaries between drama and reality.

Directed by Yimou Zhang | Starring : Minzhi Wei, Huike Zhang, Fanfan Li, Zhenda Tian, Zhimei Sun | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Sao Paulo Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Buenos Aires Film Festival, Jakarta Film Festival, Warsaw Film Festival, Changchun Film Festival

爱情麻辣烫 | Spicy Love Soup

Spicy Love Soup

Spicy Love Soup starts with a young couple eating sweet (or sour) and spicy soup from a two-sided bowl shaped in a Yin and Yang pattern. Until the couple’s wedding at the end of the film, Spicy Love Soup intermittently shows six different episodes about different generations’ relationships. Love can be sweet, sour, or spicy. And, you’ll taste all those emotions from this contemporary Chinese film.

Directed by Yang Zhang | Starring : Jinglei Xu, Cunxin Pu, Yuanyuan Gao, Liping Lü, Tao Guo | Presented at Changchun Film Festival, Tokyo Film Festival, Hawaii Film Festival

好男好女 | Good Men, Good Women

Good Men Good Women

Unknown man bothers actress with a diary stolen from her. Ambitious film about film and life by one of today’s greatest film-makers. The story is set in present-day Taipei. Liang Ching, a young actress, is bothered by an unknown man who calls her up regularly, but doesn’t say anything. He has also stolen her diary and keeps sending her pages from it by fax. Liang Ching is busy rehearsing a role in a film about two anti-Japanese guerrillas in China in the forties. Her approach to the scenes seems increasingly influenced by her personal background, especially by the faxed diary notes. She remembers the time when she worked as a bar-girl, was addicted to drink and drugs and had a short and intense relationship with the gangster Ah Wei. As Liang Ching works through the script of the film, the identification with her film role becomes stronger, but her life is still dominated by underworld figures. Her brother-in-law – whose wife, her sister, suggests Liang Ching is having an affair with him – is involved with the construction of a factory to treat chemical waste in the Taiwanese countryside. Slowly but surely, the boundaries between the film-in-the-film, the underworld and Liang Ching’s memories of Ah Wei disappear.

Directed by Hsiao-hsien Hou | Starring : Annie Shizuka Inoh, Vicky Wei, Jack Kao, Giong Lim, Chen-Nan Tsai | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, Hawaii Film Festival, Stockholm Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Singapore Film Festival, Changchun Film Festival, Buenos Aires Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival