迷城 | Distant Thunder

Distant Thunder

Zhao Po, a poor university student, had a crush on Yin Qi, a beautiful and smart university girl from a rich family. Zhao Po dared not to express himself for discrepancies in status. Later, he accidently got to know Gan Xiu, a girl working in hair salon. They gradually feel the love for each other. Soon, during an outing organized by people from the same hometown, Zhao Po witnessed that Gan Xiu was insulted and mysteriously disappeared.

Directed by Jiarui Zhang | Starring : Siyan Huo, Guo Xiaoran, Ge Siran, Zhigang Zhao, Yinuo Tang | Presented at Hong Kong Film Festival, Sao Paulo Film Festival

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红河 | Red River

Red River

A love story between a middle-aged Chinese man and a Vietnamese girl who became mentally retarded after witnessing her father’s killing. The backdrop is the Red River in Yunnan, next to the China-Vietnam border, where frequent cultural and social exchanges have profoundly impacted people from both sides for generations.

Directed by Jiarui Zhang | Starring : Jingchu Zhang, Nick Cheung, Loletta Lee, Danny Lee, Weijia Sun | Presented at Hawaii Film Festival

芳香之旅 | The Road

The Road

Aboard a bus in the rural mountains of China, a naïve young girl name Li Chunfen attends to passengers’ needs, all the while speaking of the virtues of the Communist Party. The always loyal Li is happy to serve the driver, Old Cui, a kind of father figure to her who also acts as the consoling voice of the party. When she develops an acute case of puppy love for a frequent passenger — an emotion that leads to a chased kiss and a rape report, she learns all too well that her party and driver might not always have her best interests in mind. But how big of hand will the Cultural Revolution play in Li’s life? How much control will she have over her own fate? Spanning five decades of Li’s life, The Road is a coming-of-age tale of epic proportions. Heartbreakingly beautiful — the countryside cinematography is jaw-dropping — and tragically timely, the film stands out as a masterful work from a powerful new Chinese voice, director Zhang Jiarui, reminding us of a painful history and warning us never to repeat it.

Directed by Jiarui Zhang | Starring : Jingchu Zhang, Wei Fan, Yuan Nie, Lu Huang, Xiaomei Jiang | Presented at Thessaloniki Film Festival, Cairo Film Festival

花腰新娘 | Huayao Bride In Shangri-la

Huayao Bride In Shangri-la

A-long comes from a long line of dragon dancers and is driven to prove his own worth. A pride to their town of Longphozai, his family has always observed cultural traditions and respected the village leaders—unlike A-long’s childhood sweetheart Fengmei. Wilful and rebellious, Fengmei is determined to be with A-long even if it means flouting the Huayao tradition by joining A-long’s dragon dance team. Her impulsive charisma drives the team into numerous fixes and repeatedly brings the wrath of the village elder down upon a frustrated, confused A-long. But with a major dragon dance competition approaching, can A-long and Fengmei learn to balance their love with their cultural traditions? Or will they be forced to sacrifice one for the other? This lighthearted comedy deftly intertwines traditional Huayao song, dress and dance to illustrate the role of historical tradition in modern young love, and shot with brilliant scenery of China’s countryside.

Directed by Jiarui Zhang | Starring : Jingchu Zhang, Xiaotian Yin, Zheming Cui, Yilin Wang, Jiayi Zhao | Presented at N/A

婼玛的十七岁 | When Ruoma Was Seventeen

When Ruoma Was Seventeen

This simple, yet engaging film tells the story of 17-year-old Ruoma, a member of the Xjani tribe, who are a racial minority in the Yunnan province of southern China. Ruoma has always lived a quiet, rural life, but dreams of a glamorous, cosmopolitan lifestyle way beyond her financial reach. When a photographer named Ming offers Ruoma the chance to make money as a model, she jumps at the opportunity, even if it is just posing in tribal wear for the amusement of tourists. Ruoma quickly falls in love with Ming and the notion that he may be her ticket out. Without any acting experience, Li Min is nonetheless stunning and natural in her portrayal of Ruoma. Made independently from China’s studio system, this film takes a subtle, yet compelling look at Xjani culture. An official Selection of 2004’s Philadelphia Film Festival, When Ruoma Was Seventeen is a fresh coming-of-age story from director Zhang Jiarue that features an interesting subject, and nuanced performances.

Directed by Jiarui Zhang | Starring : Li Min, Zhigang Yang, Shu Linyuan | Presented at Pusan Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, Montréal Film Festival, San Jose Film Festival, Philadelphia Film Festival, Flanders Film Festival