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

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三枪拍案惊奇 | A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop

A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop

Master director Yimou Zhang tackles an adaptation of the Coen brothers’ classic Blood Simple in this period dramedy full of slapstick and plot twists. When the owner of a Chinese noodle shop attempts to kill his adulterous wife, the fireworks fly. The proprietor also hopes to eliminate his wife’s woebegone lover, but complications and high-flying action arise courtesy of a rampaging band of feudal soldiers and the shop’s wacky employees.

Directed by Yimou Zhang | Starring : Honglei Sun, Ni Yan, Xiao Shen-Yang, Dahong Ni, Benshan Zhao | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Athens Film Festival, Helsinki Film Festival, Rio de Janeiro Film Festival, Edmonton Film Festival, Sitges Film Festival, Sao Paulo Film Festival, Mar del Plata Film Festival

意外 | Accident

Accident

A self-styled “accident choreographer,” Brain is a professional hitman who kills his victims by trapping them in well crafted “accidents” that look like unfortunate mishaps but are in fact perfectly staged acts of crime. Perennially plagued with guilt, he is also suspicious and morbid by nature. The recent avalanche of memories of his lost wife does not make things any easier. After one mission accidentally goes wrong, causing the life of one of his men, Brain is convinced that this accident has been choreographed: someone is out there plotting to terminate him and his team. He becomes increasingly paranoid, walking on the thin line between reality and delusion. When he discovers that a mysterious insurance agent Fong is somewhat related one of the “accidents” he has staged, Brain becomes obsessed that this man must be the mastermind behind a conspiracy to take him out. To regain his sanity and to save his life, he must strive to kill Fong before he makes his next move.

Directed by Pou-Soi Cheang | Starring : Louis Koo, Richie Ren, Michelle Ye, Shui-Fan Fung, Suet Lam | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Athens Film Festival, Sitges Film Festival, Pusan Film Festival, Vienna Film Festival, Mar del Plata Film Festival, Nantes Film Festival, Fantasia Film Festival, Munich Film Festival, Helsinki Film Festival

南京!南京! | City of Life and Death

City of Life and Death1

Nanjing, 1937. The third film from award-winning Sixth Generation director Lu Chuan, City of Life and Death is a devastating account of the massacre that occurred during the Sino-Japanese War when Japanese troops took the city of Nanjing in December 1937, a tragedy remembered as the Rape of Nanking. Shot completely in black and white, this powerful war drama unflinchingly captures the shocking violence and brutality of the Nanjing massacre, from the mass executions of POWs to the raping and slaughtering of civilians, while providing a deeply human portrait of both the victims and the perpetrators. Rendered in many shades of gray, City of Life and Death touches on the different people whose lives are destroyed by the war: the Chinese soldiers who gave their lives, the foreign missionaries who sheltered refugees, the comfort women, the Chinese civilians, and the Japanese soldiers. In a surprising move for a Mainland Chinese film about the Rape of Nanking, City of Life and Death is told primarily from the perspective of a Japanese soldier, who witnesses, commits, and abhors the atrocities of his army. By choosing to humanize rather than demonize, Lu Chuan offers an all the more devastating memory of the Nanjing massacre, and the people who lived and died in the City of Life and Death.

Directed by Chuan Lu | Starring : Ye Liu, Yuanyuan Gao, Hideo Nakaizumi, Wei Fan, Lan Qin | Presented at Edinburgh Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, San Sebastian Film Festival, Athens Film Festival, Oslo Film Festival, Hamptons Film Festival, Pusan Film Festival, Warsaw Film Festival, London Film Festival, AFI Film Festival, Mar del Plata Film Festival, Palm Springs Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Seattle Film Festival, Melbourne Film Festival, Helsinki Film Festival

鬼域 | Re-Cycle

Re-Cycle

The first novel of a young woman writer, Ting-yin, pen-named Chu Xun, has become the bestseller in South East Asia. Her novel is a love story that touches the hearts of all her readers. Her manager, Abby announces her next title in her autograph party. The Recycle, it deals with the supernatural forces. Her readers eagerly await the release of her new book with high expectations of her fictional work to be true to life. The film opens with Ting-yin starting work on the Recycle. After drafting a chapter, she stops. She even deletes the file which contains the draft from her computer. Later, she begins to see weird things. Some of the phenomenon cannot be explained. Ting-yin feels that the supernatural events depicted in her fictional work begin to unfold in the real world! Ting-yin finds it increasingly hard to tell what is real and what is imaginary… But she soon learns that perhaps she should follow the mysterious hints into the other world. Isn’t it exactly the subject matter that she’s working on in the Recycle? By having the experience herself, wouldn’t it be the best way to learn of the inexplicable? One night, Ting-yin decides to follow the hints into the other world, in which she has the experience of real and pure horror!

Directed by Oxide Pang Chun, Danny Pang | Starring : Angelica Lee, Lawrence Chou, Siu-Ming Lau, Rain Li, Zeng Qi Qi | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Helsinki Film Festival, Cleveland Film Festival

最好的时光 | Three Times

Three Times

Three stories of women and men: in 1966, “A Time for Love,” a soldier searches for a young woman he met one afternoon playing pool; “A Time for Freedom,” set in a bordello in 1911, revolves around a singer’s longing to escape her surroundings; in 2005 in Taipei, “A Time for Youth” dramatizes a triangle in which a singer has an affair with a photographer while her partner suffers. In the first two stories, letters are crucial to the outcome; in the third, it’s cell-phone calls, text messages, and a computer file. Over the years between the tales, as sexual intimacy becomes more likely and words more free, communication recedes.

Directed by Hsiao-hsien Hou | Starring : Qi Shu, Chen Chang, Shi-Zheng Chen, Fang Mei, Lawrence Ko | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Taipei Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, New York Film Festival, London Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, San Francisco Film Festival, Istanbul Film Festival, Indianapolis Film Festival, Yerevan Film Festival, Helsinki Film Festival

孔雀 | Peacock

Peacock

Whereas most Chinese art house movies do actual medical damage to viewers with their chic nihilism and long, boring shots of people riding around in trucks, Peacock is a balm for your soul. The Cultural Revolution is China ‘s national trauma, a harrowing decade of turmoil and destruction where everyone just tried to hold on and survive, and when it ended in 1976 millions emerged blinking into the sunlight, astounded that they were still standing. Peacock follows an average family in the average town of Henyang through the eight years after the end of the Cultural Revolution as they pick up their lives as if nothing happened. It’s a great leap forward for the three adult children of the Gao clan. Anchored by a series of family meals, the kids are trying to make it in the world – Weihong, the daughter has to learn that her dream man isn’t going to solve all her problems; eldest brother Weiguo is a simple-minded fat guy who’s an unmarriageable weight around his parents’ necks; and the middle son, Weiqiang, is the typical middle child, narrating the movie and taking every injustice in life as a personal affront. A two-hour plus movie about a family in post-Revolutionary China sounds deadly, but in the hands of Gu Changwei it becomes essential viewing for the dejected, downtrodden and just plain weary. This is a film that traffics in the belief that it doesn’t matter how bad today gets because as long as we’re alive there’s always the hope for a better tomorrow.

Directed by Changwei Gu | Starring : Jingchu Zhang, Yulai Lu, Li Feng, Meiying Huang, Yiwei Zhao | Presented at Berlin Film Festival. Helsinki Film Festival, Brothers Manaki Film Festival, Sao Paulo Film Festival