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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意外 | Accident

Accident

A self-styled “accident choreographer,” Brain is a professional hitman who kills his victims by trapping them in well crafted “accidents” that look like unfortunate mishaps but are in fact perfectly staged acts of crime. Perennially plagued with guilt, he is also suspicious and morbid by nature. The recent avalanche of memories of his lost wife does not make things any easier. After one mission accidentally goes wrong, causing the life of one of his men, Brain is convinced that this accident has been choreographed: someone is out there plotting to terminate him and his team. He becomes increasingly paranoid, walking on the thin line between reality and delusion. When he discovers that a mysterious insurance agent Fong is somewhat related one of the “accidents” he has staged, Brain becomes obsessed that this man must be the mastermind behind a conspiracy to take him out. To regain his sanity and to save his life, he must strive to kill Fong before he makes his next move.

Directed by Pou-Soi Cheang | Starring : Louis Koo, Richie Ren, Michelle Ye, Shui-Fan Fung, Suet Lam | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Athens Film Festival, Sitges Film Festival, Pusan Film Festival, Vienna Film Festival, Mar del Plata Film Festival, Nantes Film Festival, Fantasia Film Festival, Munich Film Festival, Helsinki Film Festival

二冬 | Er Dong

Er Dong

A rebellious teenager endures boarding school expulsion, family pressures and the harsh realities of rural life in northern China, until an uncovered secret from his past changes his life forever. Er Dong lives alone with his devout Christian mother in a small village. Frustrated with his bad behavior, his mother takes him to a Christian school with the hope that he will find God as well as a new direction in life. Instead, he finds a girlfriend, Chang’e, and their misconduct leads to their expulsion. Together they must face up to the harsh realities of work, parenthood and adult life in the tough economic reality of contemporary China. Recurring nightmares that plague Er Dong lead him to a shocking revelation of his own past. Yang Jin’s second feature is a detail-rich, documentary-style portrait that builds with clear-eyed assurance through the life of a seemingly unheroic and unremarkable country boy. It’s not until the film looks backwards that one gains the full scope of Er Dong’s strangely epic journey. Quietly moving and full of authentic insight into the prospects for youth in rural China, Er Dong announces the arrival of a major new talent in filmmaker Yang Jin.

Directed by Jin Yang | Starring : Li Jun Bai, Ming Juan Yang, Carolan Guan, Xiao Ke Guan | Presented at Pusan Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival, Munich Film Festival, Locarno Film Festival, Bangkok Film Festival, Ghent Film Festival

另一半 | The Other Half

The Other Half

Xiaofen works as a clerk in a law office in the industrial city of Zigong. Her unending daily routine is to record clients’ claims, complaints and arguments in cases ranging from divorces and spousal abuse to medical malpractice and industrial accidents. Xiaofen’s life has its own crises: her boyfriend, Deng Gang, is released from prison but quickly gives in to the gambling bug that put him there; her mother pressures her into a date with a suitor whose main interest is showing her bland business photos on his laptop computer; and she finally meets her estranged father. All these incidents build to a momentum when Deng Gang is suspected of murder and disappears, and the city is threatened by toxic pollution after an explosion in a chemical plant. In the ensuing evacuation, many people go missing. Uncertain of her future, Xiafen walks down empty streets while a public address system intones the names of the missing. The enigmatic end sequence seems to plead for a reverse of this erosion and loss of community, and suggests that some good may come from all this misfortune. With deadpan humor, deeply felt sensitivity and social commentary, director Ying Liang establishes the authorial voice promised in his short films and first feature, Taking Father Home. Here, he cleverly mixes major and minor crises, personal and political dilemmas, to create a chilling reflection on life today.

Directed by Liang Ying | Starring : Xiaofei Zeng, Gang Deng, Ke Zhao, Xigui Chen, Huibin Liu | Presented at Jeonju Film Festival, Singapore Film Festival, San Francisco Film Festival, Munich Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival, San Sebastian Film Festival

不散 | Goodbye Dragon Inn

Goodbye Dragon Inn

A Japanese tourist takes refuge from a rainstorm inside a once-popular movie theater, a decrepit old barn of a cinema that is screening a martial arts classic, King Hu’s 1966 “Dragon Inn.” Even with the rain bucketing down outside, it doesn’t pull much of an audience – and some of those who have turned up are less interested in the movie than in the possibility of meeting a stranger in the dark.

Directed by Ming-liang Tsai | Starring : Kang-sheng Lee, Shiang-chyi Chen, Kiyonobu Mitamura, Tien Miao, Chao-jung Chen | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, Pusan Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Vienna Film Festival, Tokyo Film Festival, London Film Festival, Hawaii Film Festival, Stockholm Film Festival, Oslo Film Festival, Nantes Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Febio Film Festival, Belgrade Film Festival, Wisconsin Film Festival, Buenos Aires Film Festival, Istanbul Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival, Singapore Film Festival, Munich Film Festival, La Rochelle Film Festival, Maine Film Festival

紫蝴蝶 | Purple Butterfly

Purple Butterfly

1928. Manchuria. Itami, a young Japanese man, falls deeply in love with Cynthia, a beautiful Chinese girl. Their brief happiness ends when he is called home for his military service and they are forced to part. Returning sorrowfully from the train station where she has bid her lover farewell, Cynthia witnesses her brother’s bloody murder at the hands of Japanese right-wing extremists. Three years later, Shanghai has been unofficially occupied by Japan. The city is tense, rife with violence and barely contained anarchy. Cynthia – now known as Ding Hui – is working for Purple Butterfly, a resistance group planning to assassinate Yamamoto, head of the Japanese secret service. Itami is also in Shanghai, operating as a secret agent and reporting directly to Yamamoto. Arriving at Shanghai station to meet his fiancée, Szeto, a young Chinese man, is mistaken by the assembled resistance fighters for the assassin they have engaged to eliminate Yamamoto. Violence erupts and Szeto’s fiancée is shot dead in the crossfire. Szeto escapes with the Purple Butterfly members, all of whom believe him to be the hired killer. Only Ding Hui realises the truth… Thus three destinies are linked by chance, and three fates set in tragic motion.

Directed by Ye Lou | Starring : Ziyi Zhang, Ye Liu, Yuanzheng Feng, Tôru Nakamura, Bingbing Li | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Munich Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival

一一 | Yi yi: A One and a Two

Yi Yi

With the runaway international acclaim of this film, Taiwanese director Edward Yang could no longer be called Asian cinema’s best-kept secret. Yi Yi swiftly follows a middle-class family in Taipei over the course of one year, beginning with a wedding and ending with a funeral. Whether chronicling middle-aged father NJ’s tenuous flirtations with an old flame or precocious young son Yang-Yang’s attempts at capturing reality with his beloved camera, Yang imbues every gorgeous frame with a deft, humane clarity. Warm, sprawling, and dazzling, this intimate epic is one of the undisputed masterworks of the new century.

Directed by Edward Yang | Starring : Nien-Jen Wu, Elaine Jin, Kelly Lee, Jonathan Chang, Issei Ogata | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Munich Film Festival, Karlovy Vary Film Festival, Sarajevo Film Festival, Telluride Film FestivalToronto Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, Bergen Film Festival, Valladolid Film Festival, Tokyo Film Festival, London Film Festival, Oslo Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Fribourg Film Festival, Singapore Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival, Locarno Film Festival, Cinemanila Film Festival