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

脸 | Face

Face

A Taiwanese filmmaker makes a film based on the myth of Salomé at the Louvre. Even though he speaks neither French nor English, he insists on giving the part of King Herod to the French actor Jean-Pierre Léaud. To give the film a chance at the box-office, the production company gives the role of Salomé to a world famous model. But problems arise as soon as filming begins… Amidst all this confusion, the director suddenly learns of his mother’s death. The producer flies to Taipei, to attend the funeral. The director falls into a deep sleep where his mother’s spirit does not seem to want to leave her old apartment. The producer has no choice but to wait, alone and lost in a strange city. As after a very long voyage, filming will resume with all who were lost in the underground of the Louvre.

Directed by Ming-liang Tsai | Starring : Kang-sheng Lee, Fanny Ardant, Yi-Ching Lu, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Laetitia Casta | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, Pusan Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Göteborg Film Festival, Buenos Aires Film Festival, Transilvania Film Festival

荡寇 | Plastic City

Plastic City

Liberdade, São Paulo– a multi-ethnic neighborhood with the largest Japanese immigrant community in the world. Here, traditional Japanese achitecture clashes with the gritty urban landscapes, while people of all races come here to do business – legal or illegal. This is where the story of Plastic City begins… Yuda, a feared Chinese outlaw, and his adopted son Kirin, an impulsive young dreamer, together rule the pirated goods racket in the ultra-liberal Brazilian metropolis. The magnate and his heir control all of from rival gangs to street hawkers, corrupt politicians to erotic dancers. But an empire that takes years to build can also crumble to the ground with one fatal mistake… A conspiracy between politicians and the mafia begins to threaten Yuda’s power. Little by little, he loses control of his business and is ultimately arrested. Kirin struggles to re-conquer his father’s honor, fighting this city’s wars singlehandedly. But Yuda, tired of the bloodshed and feeling the weight of his years, abandons his son, falsifies his own death and returns to the jungle in a last attempt to put an end to his criminal life. Escaping from a complex maze of violence, Kirin sets out to find his father. In the mysterious jungle, father and son both have to wipe the slate of their past clean. Only in the end will Kirin discover the ultimate answer to the search for his own destiny.

Directed by Nelson Yu Lik-wai | Starring : Jô Odagiri, Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, Yi Huang, Chao-jung Chen, Tainá Müller | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, AFI Film Festival, Stockholm Film Festival, Febio Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, Sao Paulo Film Festival

二十四城记 | 24 City

24 City

A masterful film from Jia Zhang-ke, the renowned director chronicles the dramatic closing of a once-prosperous state-owned aeronautics factory in Chengdu, a city in Southwest China, and its conversion into a sprawling luxury apartment complex. Bursting with poetry, pop songs and striking visual detail, the film weaves together unforgettable stories from three generations of workers – some real, some played by actors – into a vivid portrait of the human struggle behind China’s economic miracle.

Directed by Zhang Ke Jia | Starring : Tao Zhao, Joan Chen, Jianbin Chen, Liping Lü | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Sao Paulo Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, London Film Festival, Mar del Plata Film Festival, Torino Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Glasgow Film Festival, Cleveland Film Festival, Wisconsin Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival, Rio de Janeiro Film Festival, St. Louis Film Festival

双食记 | Deadly Delicious

Deadly Delicious

A mystery about a gourmet in love with two different women who winds up poisoned. Francis Ng plays a confident playboy who is keeping two mistresses. His dual-affair is going great until he suddenly starts to lose his hair, and his bedroom abilities. Are his two women teaming up to destroy him?

Directed by Tianyu Zhao | Starring : Francis Ng, Nan Yu, Yiyan Jiang, Yuchen Zhu, Jiaqing Wei | Presented at Chicago Film Festival

文雀 | Sparrow

Sparrow

From the acclaimed director of The Mission, Election, and Exiled, Johnnie To. “Sparrow’ is a common word used in Hong Kong street slang for pickpocket. The term refers to the special dexterity needed to pluck people’s wallets from their pockets… and possibly also to the necessity of having to flutter away quickly should one be discovered. Kei is one such ‘sparrow’ – and a very professional one at that. He and his three partners earn a good living from digging deep into the pockets of oblivious passers-by moving along the crowded urban canyons of Hong Kong. As far as Kei’s concerned, it’s all he needs to live a carefree life. Whenever he is not going about his business he loves to ride about the city on his bicycle photographing street scenes with his Rolleiflex camera. One day the gorgeous Chun Lei comes into his sights. Kei is fascinated. But behind Chun Lei’s good looks lurks a mysterious past. Kei falls in love with her – and he is not the only one. After having managed to turn the heads of his three colleagues, she reveals her true intentions: the sparrows must steal something of great importance to her.

Directed by Johnnie To | Starring : Simon Yam, Kelly Lin, Ka Tung Lam, Hoi-Pang Lo, Suet Lam | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Fantasia Film Festival, Cinemanila Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, Cleveland Film Festival, Wisconsin Film Festival, Mill Valley Film Festival