麦田 | Wheat

Wheat

In the Kingdom of Zhao, all the men have left for war and Lady Li (Fan Bingbing), wife of the absent lord, says victory will soon bring their men back home. When two enemy deserters invade the kingdom they pretend to be Zhao soldiers and improvise a tale for Lady Li describing Zhao’s victory. Word of the supposed victory spreads rapidly throughout the town, causing misplaced optimism among the women until the truth is revealed and despair and horror emerge.

Directed by Ping He | Starring : Bingbing Fan, Zhiwen Wang, Jue Huang, Jiayi Du, Xueqi Wang | Presented at Shanghai Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Ghent Film Festival, Tokyo Film Festival

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红粉 | Blush

Blush

This film captures the depressing everyday life in a small town where everyone knows a murder will happen. Fifth-generation woman director Li Shaohong has freely adapted the García Márquez novel Chronicle of a Death Foretold to produce a truly shocking account of the consequences of poverty and backwardness in a North China village. In her version, the victim of the all-too-preventable killing is not a wealthy man but the village teacher, the only intellectual in a community of peasants. The build-up to the crime, explored in a web of flashbacks, turns out to hinge on the inner rage of a 36-year-old male virgin and on the puritanical stance of traditional village society; but what Li ultimately lays bare is the psyche of a people for whom existence means no more than survival.

Directed by Shaohong Li | Starring : Ji Wang, Saifei He, Zhiwen Wang, Liwei Zhang, Ruoli Wang | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival