中国姑娘 | UFO in Her Eyes

UFO in her Eyes

Constantly hunting for new ways to express her volcanic dynamism and wealth of ideas, Xiaolu Guo has created a vocabulary of her own, both visual and linguistic, that reflects her sense of being caught between Chinese and English, and her experience growing up during her home country’s wild transition from totalitarian enclave to the new shrine of global capitalism. An “alien” at home and in the global intellectual elite, Guo is an ideal interpreter of the sense of alienation gener­ated by social upheaval and globalization, phenomena for which UFO in Her Eyes is a sophisticated and amusing metaphor. In a remote village in Southern China, under a hundred-year-old camphor tree, Kwok Yun, a thirty-something agricultural worker, copulates with her secret (and married) lover, the local school headmaster. On her way home, she sees a strange stone on the ground. When she picks it up, the world around her turns white, as if illuminated by supernatural light. She faints, and wakes up to find a giant white man with hairy legs who has been bitten by a snake. Yun must have been visited by a UFO. UFO in Her Eyes is surrealist and ironic, but also pierced with melancholy and beau­tiful photography. With startling detail, Guo reshapes reality into a hyper-vivid portrait of chaotic contemporary Chinese society.

Directed by Xiaolu Guo | Starring : Ke Shi, Udo Kier, Mandy Zhang, Li Dou, Zhou Lan | Presented at Toronto Film Festival, Hamburg Film Festival, Ghent Film Festival, Göteborg Film Festival

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色,戒 | Lust, Caution

Lust Caution

Shanghai, 1942. The World War II Japanese occupation of this Chinese city continues in force. Mrs. Mak, a woman of sophistication and means, walks into a café, places a call, and then sits and waits. She remembers how her story began several years earlier, in 1938 China. She is not in fact Mrs. Mak, but shy Wong Chia Chi. With WWII underway, Wong has been left behind by her father, who has escaped to England. As a freshman at university, she meets fellow student Kuang Yu Min. Kuang has started a drama society to shore up patriotism. As the theater troupe’s new leading lady, Wong realizes that she has found her calling, able to move and inspire audiences and Kuang. He convenes a core group of students to carry out a radical and ambitious plan to assassinate a top Japanese collaborator, Mr. Yee. Each student has a part to play; Wong will be Mrs. Mak, who will gain Yees’ trust by befriending his wife and then draw the man into an affair. Wong transforms herself utterly inside and out, and the scenario proceeds as scripted until an unexpectedly fatal twist spurs her to flee. Shanghai, 1941. With no end in sight for the occupation, Wong having emigrated from Hong Kong goes through the motions of her existence. Much to her surprise, Kuang re-enters her life. Now part of the organized resistance, he enlists her to again become Mrs. Mak in a revival of the plot to kill Yee, who as head of the collaborationist secret service has become even more a key part of the puppet government. As Wong reprises her earlier role, and is drawn ever closer to her dangerous prey, she finds her very identity being pushed to the limit…

Directed by Ang Lee | Starring : Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Wei Tang, Joan Chen, Leehom Wang, Chung-Hua Tou | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Calgary Film Festival, Rio de Janeiro Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, Edmonton Film Festival, London Film Festival, Vienna Film Festival, Sao Paulo Film Festival, Valladolid Film Festival, Oslo Film Festival, Göteborg Film Festival

摇啊摇,摇到外婆桥 | Shanghai Triad

Shanghai Triad

Zhang Yimou’s Shanghai Triad won the Technical Grand Prize at Cannes Film Festival in 1995, and was also nominated for the prestigious Golden Palm. Having collaborated with Zhang Yimou for a few artistically acclaimed titles including Raise the Red Lantern, Gong Li had by then made a name for herself as an actress. After Shanghai Triad, she stopped working with Zhang for more than a decade until Curse of the Golden Flower reunited them in 2006. Wonderfully colored and visually sumptuous, Shanghai Triad also received a nomination for Best Cinematography at the Oscars. Shanghai Triad, a film noir by genre, shows triad life through the eyes of a teenager, a perspective not often seen in this genre. Teenage boy Shuisheng moves from the countryside to Shanghai to stay with his uncle, who is under triad leader Tang. Tang sends Shuisheng to serve his mistress Xiao Jinbao (Gong Li). She has an affair with Song, another triad leader who plans to seize power from Tang. Shuisheng, innocent and naive, involuntarily gets involved in a power struggle which may explode at any time.

Directed by Yimou Zhang | Starring : Li Gong, Baotian Li, Wang Xiaoxiao, Xuejian Li, Chun Sun | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, New York Film Festival, London Film Festival