头发乱了 | Dirt

Dirt

Four childhood friends are reunited in Beijing when one of them returns to live there while studying nursing. Ye Tong, who relishes the idea of returning here to touch the past, narrates this tale of lives that intertwine again. In childhood, they had played in the alleyway of their connected homes; as adults, the alley is a place of danger and threats. Director Guan Hu uses this story to herald the emergence of a new generation of filmmakers in China. Dirt uses the rising rock music scene in Beijing to depict the Sixth Generation movement that arose after the Tiananmen Square protest of 1989. As the film’s story unfolds, Tong’s life gets complicated as she finds herself attracted to one of her childhood friends, Wei, a local rock band leader. His long, flowing black hair and his lean, muscular body are seductive, and Tong falls for him and his music. Wei lets her play in the band, distracting her from her nursing studies and from the other childhood friends. Tragic realities unfold for these Beijing friends and seal their fate and future.

Directed by Hu Guan | Starring : Lin Kong, Xie Kun, Geng Le, Jia-yi Zhang, Jiali Ding | Presented at N/A

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大红灯笼高高挂 | Raise the Red Lantern

Raise the Red Lantern

Raise the Red Lantern is a 1991 film directed by Zhang Yimou and starring Gong Li. It is an adaption by Ni Zhen of the 1990 novel Wives and Concubines by Su Tong. The film was later adapted into an acclaimed ballet of the same title by the National Ballet of China, also directed by Zhang.Set in the 1920s, the film tells the story of a young woman who becomes one of the concubines of a wealthy man during the Warlord Era. It is noted for its opulent visuals and sumptuous use of colours. The film was shot in Qiao’s Compound near the ancient city of Pingyao, in Shanxi Province. Although the screenplay was approved by Chinese censors, the final version of the film was banned in China for a period. Some film critics have interpreted the film as a veiled allegory against authoritarianism.

Directed by Yimou Zhang | Starring : Li Gong, Jingwu Ma, Saifei He, Cuifen Cao, Lin Kong | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Stockholm Film Festival

血色清晨 | Bloody Morning

Bloody Morning

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 : Jun Zhao, Zhaohui Gong, Yajie Hu, Lu Hui, Lin Kong | Presented at Nantes Film Festival, Fribourg Film Festival, San Sebastian Film Festival