这里,那里 | Here, There

Here There

Three interwoven stories of contemporary China. In the snowy forests of northern China, a lonely man herds reindeer and busies himself with his daily tasks, looking forward to visits from his wife and son. In Shanghai, a young restaurant worker becomes drawn to a troubled young woman and tries to care for her. In Paris, a young Chinese student is robbed of his passport. He receives unexpected help from an elderly compatriot who knows the ins and outs of their new city.

Directed by Sheng Lu | Starring : Yulai Lu, Lu Huang, Anliao Yao, Deshun Wang, Yan Bo Bai | Presented at Pusan Film Festival, Tokyo Film Festival, Edinburgh Film Festival

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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

红色康拜因 | The Red Awn

The Red Awn

Whenever the wheat becomes golden, thousands of floaters will leave their homes and migrate from one place to another to make a living by working in the wheat fields. A 50-year-old father leaves his wife and son in their hometown and, in order to make money, goes to the city for five years. The 17–year-old son grows up in the countryside alone. At summer’s end, the father returns and decides to drive the red combine during the harvest with his son. On their way, an irresponsible father and a resentful son try to rebuild their bond, to face their destiny.

Directed by Shangjun Cai | Starring : Lu Huang, Yulai Lu, Jianbin Chen, Shi Junhui, Hong Wang | Presented at Pusan Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival, Seattle Film Festival, Melbourne Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival

盲山 | Blind Mountain

Blind Mountain

There are two ways to take on Li Yang’s potent, concise Blind Mountain, and both have horns: as the howling social-critique screed it was intended to be, and as a Chinese realist version of the “white trash” exploitation epics of the American ’60s and ’70s — which makes the dynamic of the story universally human, not exclusively Chinese. But Chinese it is in actuality, through and through: simply put, unemployed college grad Bai accepts a job to collect medicinal herbs in the remote northern country, and after landing in a secluded village wakes up to find herself literally sold into slavery, as a bought-and-paid-for bride for a local ne’er-do-well.

Directed by Yang Li | Starring : Lu Huang, Youan Yang, Yunle He, Yuling Zhang, Yingao Jia | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Hawaii Film Festival, Bratislava Film Festival, Portland Film Festival, Istanbul Film Festival

芳香之旅 | The Road

The Road

Aboard a bus in the rural mountains of China, a naïve young girl name Li Chunfen attends to passengers’ needs, all the while speaking of the virtues of the Communist Party. The always loyal Li is happy to serve the driver, Old Cui, a kind of father figure to her who also acts as the consoling voice of the party. When she develops an acute case of puppy love for a frequent passenger — an emotion that leads to a chased kiss and a rape report, she learns all too well that her party and driver might not always have her best interests in mind. But how big of hand will the Cultural Revolution play in Li’s life? How much control will she have over her own fate? Spanning five decades of Li’s life, The Road is a coming-of-age tale of epic proportions. Heartbreakingly beautiful — the countryside cinematography is jaw-dropping — and tragically timely, the film stands out as a masterful work from a powerful new Chinese voice, director Zhang Jiarui, reminding us of a painful history and warning us never to repeat it.

Directed by Jiarui Zhang | Starring : Jingchu Zhang, Wei Fan, Yuan Nie, Lu Huang, Xiaomei Jiang | Presented at Thessaloniki Film Festival, Cairo Film Festival

结果 | Before Born

Before Born

Before Born is a surreal mystery about modern Chinese life that has garnered comparisons to L’avventura, Michelangelo Antonioni’s classic 1960 film. The film tells the story of a private detective, Huang Guangliang, hired to gather evidence of an affair by a man named Li Chonggao. When he arrives in the coastal city of Beihai in search of his target, he discovers that he has disappeared and instead meets an enigmatic young woman who is also looking for Li.

Directed by Ming Zhang | Starring : Li Huang Zhong Liao, Kwong Leung Wong, Baihui Xu, Xiaxi Huang | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival