昨天 | Quitting

Quitting

Quitting concerns a troubled soul and how the massive changes wrought in contemporary urban China can batter a man. But the protagonist is not a hapless naif, fearing and defeated by change. Both the star of the film and the person on which it is based is Jia Hong-Sheng, one of China’s most visible young stars, whose performances in Suzhou River and Frozen practically define the bursting exuberance of young Chinese cinema. Both historical biography and documentary re-enactment, Quitting defies easy categorization, with the real protagonists of Jia’s hellish life journey playing themselves in almost every case.

Directed by Yang Zhang | Starring : Hongshen Jia, Fengsen Jia, Xiuling Chai, Tong Wang, Shun Xing | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, London Film Festival, Stockholm Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Singapore Film Festival, Cinemanila Film Festival

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苏州河 | Suzhou River

Suzhou River

The river Suzhou that flows through Shanghai is a reservoir of filth, chaos and poverty, but also a meeting place for memories and secrets. Lou Ye, who spent his youth on the banks of the Suzhou, shows the river as a Chinese Styx, in which forgotten stories and mysteries come together. Mardar, a motorcycle courier in his mid-twenties, rides all over the city with all kinds of packages for his clients. He knows every inch and is successful thanks to the fact that he never asks questions. One day he is asked by a shady alcohol smuggler to deliver his sixteen-year-old daughter, Moudan, to her aunt. Mardar and Moudan grow fond of each other. But their tender happiness is disrupted when Moudan thinks that Mardar has kidnapped her for a ransom. She is so disappointed in him that she jumps off the bridge into the Suzhou River. Mardar is now suspected of murder. When a couple of years later he comes out of jail, he meets the dancer Meimei, an alter-ego of Moudan, and becomes fascinated by her.

Directed by Ye Lou | Starring : Xun Zhou, Hongshen Jia, Zhongkai Hua, Anlian Yao, An Nai | Presented at Rotterdam Film Festival, Göteborg Film Festival, Paris Film Festival, Karlovy Vary Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, Reykjavik Film Festival, Pusan Film Festival, Bergen Film Festival, Gij­­ón Film Festival

极度寒冷 | Frozen

Frozen

A stunning and demanding film that takes the audience into the world of Beijing’s artistic avant-garde in the late 1980s and early 1990s. A daring young artist in Beijing is obsessed with performance art and makes his own suicide his last work of art. On the longest day of the year he plans to melt a huge block of ice with his own body heat and die of hypothermia. He calls this protest against the coldness of society “Funeral on Ice.” Based upon a similar performance staged in Beijing and shot in 1994, “Frozen” is a unique work even among independently produced Chinese films.

Directed by Xiaoshuai Wang | Starring : Hongshen Jia, Xiaoqing Ma, Geng Li, Yongning Zhang, Jie Liu | Presented at Vancouver Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Singapore Film Festival, Jeonju Film Festival

周末情人 | Weekend Lover

Weekend Lover

Weekend Lover’s noir-style and tales of violent disaffected youth led to its comparison with similar films of the period, notably Zhang Yuan’s Beijing Bastards. Like that film, Weekend Lover is also considered a defining film for the “Sixth Generation” of Chinese cinema, particularly in its tone and subject matter that focuses on modern urban life instead of traditional Chinese history. The film follows a young man, A Xi who is recently released from prison. Once released, he seeks out his old girlfriend Li Xin who has since begun a relationship with La La a young musician. As the two men vie for her attention, tension and violence escalate.

Directed by Ye Lou | Starring : Xiaoqing Ma, Hongshen Jia, Xiaoshuai Wang, Zhiwen Wan, An Nai | Presented at Torino Film Festival=