狼灾记 | The Warrior and the Wolf

The Warrior and the Wolf

A father figure in contemporary Chinese cinema, controversial avant-garde auteur Tian Zhuang Zhuang is back with a rewarding work of fearless art. A departure from his free-spirited early works and the cautious intimacy of his later films, The Warrior and the Wolf is the captivating adaptation of a short story by the prolific Japanese writer Yasushi Inoue. In the Era of the Warring States, before the unification of China, thousands of soldiers are dispatched to fight the enemy and conquer nomadic tribes. Sent to remote regions at the edges of the known world, the soldiers encounter many adversities, and the brutal challenge of survival often brings out the worst human instincts. But valiant Lu Chenkang belongs to a different breed. He is brave, loyal and extremely skilled in the art of war. Nevertheless, he is kind-hearted and averse to murder. Though he has a pet wolf cub, he keeps his own animal instincts at bay. When his commander and friend, General Zhang Anliang, is badly wounded just before the incipient winter, Lu takes over command of the troops. Forced to find shelter in the village of the mysterious Harran tribe, he discovers a beautiful young woman hiding in his refuge. A widow shunned into solitude, she has a fierce personality and fights Lu in every way she can before surrendering to his passionate embrace, having fallen for him against her better judgement. She seems to possess the strange ability to take his mind to a place where memories collide with dreams and legends – a place where humans were once wolves.

Directed by Zhuangzhuang Tian | Starring : Jô Odagiri, Maggie Q, Chung-Hua Tou, Zhiwen Wang | Presented at Toronto Film Festival, Rome Film Festival, Hawaii Film Festival

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停车 | Parking

Parking

On Mother’s Day in Taipei, Chen Mo makes a date for dinner with his wife, hoping to bring their estranged relationship back together. While buying a cake on his way home, a car unexpectedly double parks next to his car, preventing his exit. For the entire night, Chen Mo searches the floors of a nearby apartment building for the owner of the illegally parked car, and encounters a succession of strange events and eccentric characters: an old couple living with their precocious granddaughter who have lost their only son, a one-armed barbershop owner cooking fish head soup, a mainland Chinese prostitute trying to escape her pimp’s cruel clutches, and a Hong Kong tailor embroiled in debt and captured by underground loan sharks. After many hardships, Chen Mo finally gets his car out of the parking space, and, with new friends riding beside him, advances toward a new horizon in life.

Directed by Mong-Hong Chung | Starring : Chen Chang, Gwei Lun-Mei, Leon Dai, Chapman To, Jack Kao | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Ghent Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival, Stockholm Film Festival, Oslo Film Festival, Taipei Film Festival, Wisconsin Film Festival

色,戒 | Lust, Caution

Lust Caution

Shanghai, 1942. The World War II Japanese occupation of this Chinese city continues in force. Mrs. Mak, a woman of sophistication and means, walks into a café, places a call, and then sits and waits. She remembers how her story began several years earlier, in 1938 China. She is not in fact Mrs. Mak, but shy Wong Chia Chi. With WWII underway, Wong has been left behind by her father, who has escaped to England. As a freshman at university, she meets fellow student Kuang Yu Min. Kuang has started a drama society to shore up patriotism. As the theater troupe’s new leading lady, Wong realizes that she has found her calling, able to move and inspire audiences and Kuang. He convenes a core group of students to carry out a radical and ambitious plan to assassinate a top Japanese collaborator, Mr. Yee. Each student has a part to play; Wong will be Mrs. Mak, who will gain Yees’ trust by befriending his wife and then draw the man into an affair. Wong transforms herself utterly inside and out, and the scenario proceeds as scripted until an unexpectedly fatal twist spurs her to flee. Shanghai, 1941. With no end in sight for the occupation, Wong having emigrated from Hong Kong goes through the motions of her existence. Much to her surprise, Kuang re-enters her life. Now part of the organized resistance, he enlists her to again become Mrs. Mak in a revival of the plot to kill Yee, who as head of the collaborationist secret service has become even more a key part of the puppet government. As Wong reprises her earlier role, and is drawn ever closer to her dangerous prey, she finds her very identity being pushed to the limit…

Directed by Ang Lee | Starring : Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Wei Tang, Joan Chen, Leehom Wang, Chung-Hua Tou | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Calgary Film Festival, Rio de Janeiro Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, Edmonton Film Festival, London Film Festival, Vienna Film Festival, Sao Paulo Film Festival, Valladolid Film Festival, Oslo Film Festival, Göteborg 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

少女小渔 | Siao Yu

Siao Yu

Directed by Sylvia Chang, who avoids the usual pitfalls of the greencard-marriage movie. Set in Lower Manhattan, this film chronicles the travails of two Taiwanese illegal aliens: Siao-yu works as a sweatshop seamstress while her lover, Jiang Wei, is a student working in Chinatown’s fish market. They meet a middle-aged Italian-American, Mario, a writer who has racked up a large gambling debt. They agree to give him the $10,000 he needs if he will only marry Siao-yu and get her a green card. Following the “wedding,” Siao-yu moves into his spare bedroom, after which they become unexpected and oddly-matched friends. Meanwhile, Siao-yu’s actual boyfriend, and Mario’s wife — who left him long ago — reassert their presence during this bogus arrangement.

Directed by Sylvia Chang | Starring : Rene Liu, Daniel J. Travanti, Chung-Hua Tou, Marj Dusay, Tai-Feng Hsia | Presented at Toronto Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival

风柜来的人 | The Boys from Fengkuei

The Boys From Fengkuei

Ah-Ching and his friends have just finished school in their island fishing village, and now spend most of their time drinking and fighting. Three of them decide to go to the port city of Kaohsiung to look for work. They find an apartment through relatives, and Ah-Ching is attracted to the girlfriend of a neighbor. There they face the harsh realities of the big city.

Directed by Hsiao-hsien Hou | Starring : Doze Niu, Shih Chang, Hsiu-Ling Lin, Shufang Chen, Lai-Yin Yang | Presented at Nantes Film Festival, Buenos Aires Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival