团圆 | Apart Together

Apart Together

Over fifty years after the proclamation of the People’s Republic of China on the Chinese mainland and the founding of the island republic of Taiwan, permission is given for the first time for a group of ex-soldiers of the National People’s Party or Kuomintang to travel from Taiwan to China and be reunited with family members in Shanghai. These soldiers fought bitterly against Communist troops during China’s civil war from 1927 onwards, until they were forced to retreat to Taiwan in 1949. One of the comrades-in-arms travelling with the group to his former home in Shanghai is an ageing soldier named Lui Yansheng. His reason for embarking on this journey is not to see the family members he left behind on the mainland but to find the one and only love of his life, Qiao Yu’e, whom he was obliged to leave behind in Shanghai without a word of farewell, and their son, who was born after he took flight. After having made contact via letter, he manages to arrange a meeting during which he quickly realises that Qiao Yu’e, who has founded a family with an officer in the People’s Liberation Army, still feels the same way about him as before. It’s not hard for Liu Yangsheng to persuade his former partner to go back with him to Taiwan. He hopes that, by promising to leave his entire savings to her husband and their children, he will be able to secure the family’s agreement. But his proposal gives rise to a huge outcry in the family. Qiao Yu’e situation would seem to be quite hopeless – until her husband suffers a brain haemorrhage and almost dies…

Directed by Quan’an Wang | Starring : Lisa Lu, Feng Ling, Cai-gen Xu, Monica Mok, Xiaotian Mo | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Melbourne Film Festival, San Sebastian Film Festival, Sao Paulo Film Festival, Palm Springs 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

美人依旧 | The Beauty Remains

Beauty Remains2

Set in 1948 against the backdrop of Communism’s rise, “Fei” is the story of two sisters, Fei and Ying, bound together by the will of their late father, a legendary business entrepreneur, and their shared love for a charismatic ex-boxer, Huang. They are two women whose paths have been dictated by the often cruel decrees of the men their lives–two women who must somehow transcend that influence…or lose everything.

Directed by Ann Hu | Starring : Xun Zhou, Vivian Wu, Zhiwen Wang, Lisa Lu, Lixin Yang | Presented at Cleveland Film Festival

诱僧 | Temptation of a Monk

Temptation of a Monk

Near the beginning of the Tang dynasty, in 7th century China, General Shi Yan-sheng is tricked into leaving the crown prince unguarded. The crown prince is murdered by one of his brothers who then becomes emperor. Shi retreats to a monastery, perhaps to hide, perhaps to plan a coup. When his loyal troops as well as the princess he desires are slain, he seeks refuge in a remote, abandoned monastery where an aged abbot schools him with practical, earthy teachings. The emperor’s forces pursue Shi: first a woman, then a general seek to overpower him with lust and might. Over the course of the film, the reds of battle give way to blues of meditation.

Directed by Clara Law | Starring : Joan Chen, Hsing-kuo Wu, Fengyi Zhang, Lisa Lu, Ming-yang Li | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Stockholm Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival

最后的贵族 | The Last Aristocrats

The Last Aristocrats

Set in 1948. Three friends go to America to study. Whilst there one of the girls hears that her parents have died suddenly. She disappears, much to the anxiety of her friends. When she returns she is a broken and desolate young woman.

Directed by Jin Xie | Starring : Hong Pan, Cunxin Pu, Kechun Li, Xiong Xiao, Lisa Lu | Presented at N/A