桃姐 | A Simple Life

A Simple Life

Based on a true story, the film centres on Ah Tao, an amah who has worked for the Leung family for four generations. She lives with and takes care of Roger, a film producer who is the only member of the Leung household still living in Hong Kong. Roger returns home one day and finds Ah Tao unconscious after a stroke. Convinced she has becoming a burden, Tao resigns and moves into a retirement home. But upon her arrival, she continues to be taken care of by Roger, who realizes just how important she is to him. He decides to do his best to watch after the person who has nurtured him all his life. But Ah Tao’s health is fast deteriorating. Hui has always excelled when telling stories of everyday life. In A Simple Life, she delivers a rich and heartwarming drama that not only deals with the many abandoned old people in Hong Kong, but also exquisitely captures the unique relationship between the amah and the family for which she cares. In an age when loyalty between employers and employees is fast disappearing, A Simple Life highlights a culture that has almost ceased to exist in Hong Kong: one in which a person devotes their life to serving a family, and in return is cherished as much as any other relative.

Directed by Ann Hui | Starring : Andy Lau, Deannie Yip, Hailu Qin, Fuli Wang, Paul Chun | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, London Film Festival, Stockholm Film Festival, Dubai Film Festival, Palm Springs Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Okinawa Film Festival, Durban Film Festival, Istanbul Film Festival, Sydney Film Festival, Munich Film Festival, Portland Film Festival

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Hello!树先生 | Mr. Tree

Mr Tree

Shu, a bachelor, is an unreliable worker in his village’s motor-repair shop. He tends to stay silent, like a forgotten tree in the wilderness. When the villagers are forced to evacuate due to the expansion of the local mining activities, Shu goes to the provincial capital to ask his friend for a job in a tutorial school. There, Shu falls in love at first sight with Xiaomei, a deaf-mute girl. On the night before their wedding, Shu’s dead father, his elder brother and his elder brother’s murderer appear in his dreams. The wedding is a disaster, and Xiaomei leaves to rejoin her mother. The worries and intuitions that have long flashed through Shu’s mind start to make sense to him. He begins to make prophecies, and many of them come true.

Directed by Jie Han | Starring : Baoqiang Wang, Zhuo Tan, Jie He, Bo Liu, Jing An | Presented at Locarno Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Pusan Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, London Film Festival, Rio de Janeiro Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival

让子弹飞 | Let the Bullets Fly

Let the Bullets Fly

Set during the Age of the Warlords in the 1920s, this comic western is the highest grossing Chinese film ever. When circumstances force an outlaw to impersonate a county governor and clean up a corrupt town, the Robin Hood figure finds himself in a showdown with the local “godfather”. Full of surprises and grounded with a smart, humorous script, Let the Bullets Fly’s battles are fought with guns and wit.a

Directed by Wen Jiang | Starring : Wen Jiang, Yun-Fat Chow, You Ge, Bing Shao, Fan Liao | Presented at Tribeca Film Festival, Locarno Film Festival, Pusan Film Festival, London Film Festival

当爱来的时候 | When Love Comes

When Love Comes

Chang Tso-Chi’s wonderful new film – his most achieved since The Best of Times – is about the members of a family. They come from Kinmen Island, a dot in the sea just off the coast of mainland China which for many years bore the brunt of China’s enmity towards Taiwan, but have settled in the Taipei suburbs to run a modest restaurant. The family has secrets which don’t come out until one member dies (without giving too much away, we can say they have to do with maternity), but there are no great melodramatic revelations. Women dominate the family; the men are a seemingly henpecked husband, nicknamed Dark Face, an autistic uncle who hates the number ‘3’ and has a real talent for ‘naïve’ drawing, and a new grandson, born in unusual circumstances in the opening scene. The women range from a bossy matriarch to a teenager struggling with the realisation that she made the wrong choice of boyfriend. Chang stirs them all together in episodes which have the authentic rhythms of family life and none of the contrivances of soap opera. He observes them with the kind of comic warmth last seen in the films of Edward Yang.

Directed by Tso-chi Chang | Starring : Yijie Li, Yushun Lin, Zihua He, Xuefeng Lu, Meng-jie Gao | Presented at Pusan Film Festival, London Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival

寒假 | Winter Vacation

Winter Vacation

An ordinary village in Northern China, the last day of the winter vacation. Four idle, aimless adolescents gather at Zhou Zhixin’s home, a friend who lives with his father, brother and nephew. Like most contemporary teenagers, these youths want to enjoy their last day of holiday and simply hang out in this place where nothing ever seems likely to happen. Their conversations are desultory and they sometimes seem to argue for argument’s sake. One of them, Laowu, talks frankly with his girlfriend about how teenage love might affect their studies, while Laobao questions school’s value and relevance to real life.

Directed by Hongqi Li | Starring : Jinfeng Bai, Lei Bao, Hui Wang, Ying Xie, Naqi Zhang | Presented at Locarno Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, London Film Festival, Mar del Plata Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival, Wisconsin Film Festival, Melbourne Film Festival, San Sebastian Film Festival

日照重庆 | Chongqing Blues

Chongqing Blues2

Award-winning Chinese filmmaker Wang Xiaoshuai explores new territories with his latest film Chongqing Blues, which was Mainland China’s only entry in the main competition of the Cannes Film Festival 2010. Inspired by a true hostage case that happened in Chongqing, the film digs into the heart of a guilt-ridden father who seeks redemption after the tragic death of his estranged son. Upon returning from his voyages, shipmaster Lin Quanhai is informed that his son was gunned down by the police half a year ago in a supermarket robbery. The tragedy prompts Lin to return to his Chongqing hometown to find out what happened to his son, whom he hasn’t seen in 13 years. His quest eventually brings him to the painful realization that he is the one to blame, having inflicted indelible damages to the ones closest to him through his long absence and negligence.

Directed by Xiaoshuai Wang | Starring : Xueqi Wang, Bingbing Fan, Hao Qin, Yi Zi, Feier Li | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Warsaw Film Festival, London Film Festival, Tokyo Film Festival, Göteborg Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival

中国姑娘 | She, a Chinese

She A Chinese

Mei, a young Chinese girl bored with life in her little village, decides to quit for the nearest town, Chongqing. But life there isn’t much easier either; sacked from a clothing factory shortly after starting work, she makes do with a job in a hairdressing salon. There she meets and falls for Spikey, a local mafia’s contract killer. For this brute of a man – who has no qualms about asking her to beat him in the street with a nunchaku – she seems simply another notch on the bedpost. One evening, he comes home covered in blood and dies at her feet. Mei discovers several bundles of banknotes under his mattress, and sets off for London where she has an opportunity to marry Mister Hunt, a man of seventy. In her new husband’s silent home, a new life begins. Will she be satisfied with this monotonous routine? Paced to an original soundtrack by John Parish – working with PJ Harvey and the band Eels – and chaptered in telling titles such as Sometimes you wonder who you really are and Mei feels love under the Big Ben calendar, Xiaolu Guo has made a film in which the challenges Mei must confront do not deter her quest for a more promising future. The filmmaker uses elements of nature – stifling summer heat, a duck bleeding to death, a dog wolfed down by a fox –to express her protagonist’s feelings. Through this journey and the people Mei meets, She, a Chinese conjures the mix of cultures in the early 21st century and how people, lifestyles, consumer goods, and music all cross borders. Although these cross-cultural currents bring about a degree of chaos in Mei’s life, she finds the will to escape isolation, and to follow her desires, come what may.

Directed by Xiaolu Guo | Starring : Lu Huang, Wei Yi Bo, Geoffrey Hutchings, Chris Ryman, Hsinyi Liu | Presented at Locarno Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Hamburg Film Festival, Ghent Film Festival, Pusan Film Festival, Sao Paulo Film Festival, London Film Festival, Vienna Film Festival, Mar del Plata Film Festival, Göteborg Film Festival, Istanbul Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival, Melbourne Film Festival, Rio de Janeiro Film Festival