荆轲刺秦王 | The Emperor and the Assassin

The Emperor and the Assassin

A lavishly produced historical drama from China, The Emperor and the Assassin tells the complex, multi-facetted story of the man who became the first Emperor of a unified China, another man who has sworn to kill him, and a woman who is loved by both men. Late in the Third Century B.C., when China was comprised of seven rival kingdoms, Ying Zheng was the leader of Qin. Ying Zheng had a dream in which he joined together the seven kingdoms into a single utopian state, and taking this as a mandate from God, he invaded the nearby state of Han as the first step toward this goal. However, not everyone in the neighboring states was happy with Ying Zheng’s crusade, which seemed to indicate a lengthy war with many casualties. Lady Zhao, Ying’s lover, devised a scheme to help Ying Zheng take over the nearby and uncooperative state of Yan; she fabricated a fake assassination plot against him, and framed the leader of Yan, once Ying Zheng’s childhood friend, as the man behind the murderous plot. However, Lady Zhao did not choose the would-be assassin wisely; while Jing Ke loved her and was willing to do her bidding, Jing Ke’s previous assassination assignment caused the unintended death of an innocent blind girl, which left him full of regret and a bit unstable. When Jing Ke learned a closely guarded secret about Ying Zheng’s past, he became blindly determined to kill the would-be emperor, whatever the cost.

Directed by Kaige Chen | Starring : Li Gong, Fengyi Zhang, Xuejian Li, Yongfei Gu, Zhiwen Wang | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, AFI Film Festival, Reykjavik Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival

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边走边唱 | Life on a String

Life on a String

A blind master wanders through a mythic landscape of a terrific beauty to play his songs and sing his ballads. His whole life he’s had one hope, one dream of another world: According to a prophecy he shall be able to see, if he has broken 1000 of his banjo strings. His blind disciple, on the contrary, doesn’t want to rely on one hope. He longs for a woman’s love… Does sight await the saint when the 1000th string breaks? Can the disciple’s strength of character overcome provincial prejudice to win the hand of his love and a place in the village?

Directed by Kaige Chen | Starring : Zhongyuan Liu, Lei Huang, Qing Xu, Ling Ma, Erga Yao | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, Istanbul Film Festival