我还有话要说 | When Night Falls

When Night Falls

Inspired by the notorious case of a young man’s 2008 murder of six Shanghai police officers, the remarkable new film from independent Chinese auteur Ying Liang focuses on the killer’s mother, as she both struggles to comprehend her son’s heinous act and is persecuted by a state that willfully ignores its own laws.

Directed by Liang Ying | Starring : An Nai, Kate Wen, Ming Sun | Presented at Jeonju Film Festival, Locarno Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, Warsaw Film Festival, Cinemanila Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival

钢的琴 | The Piano in a Factory

The Piano in a Factory

An offbeat ballad of friendship and devotion, The Piano in a Factory captures the tempo of changing times with quiet wisdom and a tinge of nostalgia. Steelworker Chen has a passion for music and plays the accordion in a local band with a close group of friends. When his estranged wife returns one day after years of absence, she demands a divorce and sole custody of their daughter. Chen is at a loss. He doesn’t mind divorcing a woman who has become a stranger, but he can’t bear to part with his daughter. Chen has worked hard to give her a respectable life and has taught her his love of music. When asked if she’d rather stay with her father or go with her mother, the girl gives a practical, devastating answer: she’ll go with whomever can provide her with a piano. Chen cannot afford such a luxury item, but the piano becomes his last hope to save what little is left of his family. With the help of his loyal friends and the support of his lover – the singer in his band – Chen concocts several plans to fulfill his daughter’s wish, from sneaking her into the local music school at night to drawing a fake piano. He even tries to steal the instrument from the school – anything to keep her near him. Nothing works for long, until Chen looks around his fading steel factory town and hits on the perfect solution. The Piano in a Factory is an endearing portrait of a moment when the certainty of state-run industry begins to falter. Simple in its measured and assured direction, The Piano in a Factory establishes Zhang Meng as one of the most vibrant voices in Chinese cinema today.

Directed by Zhang Meng | Starring : Qianyuan Wang, Shin-yeong Jang, Hailu Qin, Yongzhen Guo, Er-yang Luo | Presented at Toronto Film Festival, Tokyo Film Festival, Cinemanila Film Festival, Dubai Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Glasgow Film Festival, Miami Film Festival, San Francisco Film Festival, Wisconsin Film Festival, Melbourne Film Festival, Hamburg Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival

第四张画 | The Fourth Portrait

Fourth Portrait

Ten year-old Xiang faces a lonely future after his father dies. Just when he thinks he’s going to spend his life in the orphanage, his estranged mother shows up. And his life changes forever… A loveless mother, a hateful stepfather, a chilly home. Where’s Xiang heading to? He finds comfort in drawing and his work reveals his longing for care and affection. Life is full of hope again when he meets the old school janitor who doesn’t show his kindness easily and a portly man who has crazy ideas and is haunted with nightmares of his brother. A scary truth is about to be unmasked. Will Xiang be able to depict his own image in the fourth portrait?

Directed by Mong-Hong Chung | Starring : Bi Xiao-Hai, Shih-chieh Chin, Lei Hao, Leon Dai, Terri Kwan | Presented at Locarno Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Tokyo Film Festival, Mar del Plata Film Festival, Nantes Film Festival, Cinemanila Film Festival, Melbourne Film Festival, Gindou Film Festival, Wisconsin Film Festival

第三十六个故事 | Taipei Exchanges

Taipei Exchange

This second feature by Hsiao Ya-Chuan, with leading Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien as executive producer, is a stylish and enjoyable tale of love, friendship, coffee and cake. When Doris fulfills her dream of opening a café, it quickly becomes overrun with junk offered as gifts. Younger sister Josie thinks up an idea of turning it into a swap shop. As hopes and dreams intersect over espresso and mouth-watering cakes, Doris’ Café becomes a place where people come to exchange their junk and life stories for an object of their desire.

Directed by Ya-chuan Hsiao | Starring : Gwei Lun-Mei, Zaizai Lin, Han Chang, Kôsuke Atari, Jiunn-jye Lee | Presented at Tokyo Film Festival, Cinemanila 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

落叶归根 | Getting Home

Getting Home

Zhao is an ageing worker who toils away in Shenzen in order to earn a living. When his friend and colleague Wang suddenly dies, Zhao decides to transport his body back to his native town. He purchases two tickets for the cross-country bus, and pretends that his silent travelling companion has drunk so much alcohol that he has fallen unconscious. Shortly afterwards, the bus is attacked by armed bandits. Zhao asks the bandits to kill him first, so that he can stay with his dead friend forever. Touched by this display of loyalty, the robbers decide to let the bus go. But instead of thanking Zhao, the other passengers throw him and his dead friend off the bus. Pretending that his friend is seriously ill and must be taken to hospital immediately, Zhao tries to flag down passing cars. After spending the night in a hotel, Zhao discovers that all his money has been stolen and begins to lose heart. But he refuses to be browbeaten. Whenever he needs money, he rearranges Wong so that he looks like a beggar. And whenever he is hungry, he joins a funeral party and bawls his eyes out so that he can enjoy the food served at the wake. During his odyssey across China Zhao is obliged to get along with all kinds of people. Just before he reaches his destination, the old man and his dead friend are caught in a torrential downpour, so that now Zhao finds himself engaged in a struggle against nature.

Directed by Yang Zhang | Starring : Benshan Zhao, Dandan Song, Degang Guo, Haiying Sun, Ma Wu | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Bangkok Film Festival, Cinemanila Film Festival, Vladivostok Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, St. Louis Film Festival, Kerala Film Festival, Wisconsin Film Festival, Edmonton Film Festival

吴清源 | The Go Master

The Go Master

The latest film from celebrated Fifth Generation director Tian Zhuangzhuang, The Go Master shines a light on the life and times of Wu Qingyuan. Better know by his Japanese name Go Seigen, Wu is considered the greatest Go player of the 20th century, his talents bringing him from his native China to a professional career in Japan when he was only a teenager. Based on Wu’s autobiography, this elegantly shot and remarkably restrained biopic follows the life of a singular figure, fascinating not only for his genius and achievements in the game of Go, but also for his unique experiences as a Chinese man in Japan during an immensely turbulent period in history. With the breakout of the Sino-Japanese War in the 1930s, Wu Qingyuan and his family are thrown into an uncomfortable and dangerous position as Chinese nationals residing in Japan. While Wu’s family returns to China, he chooses to stay behind in his adopted country to continue to pursue the game of Go. In the quiet recluse of his school, there are no politics, only the singular dedication to his art and the love for his wife Kazuko. However, the chaos of the times eventually forces him out of his enclave, throwing his life and mind into conflict. Wu joins a cult in a sober pursuit of faith and his own ongoing battle to come to terms with himself.

Directed by Zhuangzhuang Tian | Starring : Chen Chang, Sylvia Chang, Xuejian Li, Ayumi Ito, Yi Huang | Presented at New York Film Festival, Rome Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival, Ankara Film Festival, Shanghai Film Festival, Bangkok Film Festival, Cinemanila Film Festival