惊蛰 | The Story of Ermei

The Story of Ermei

A portrait of contemporary China seen through the dreams and choices of a young peasant who has accepted her fate. Twenty-year-old Ermei lives in a village in northern China. Hers is a poor family; they are placed under even greater financial strain when Ermei’s grandfather is on his deathbed. Even if they kill all their pigs, they still won’t have enough money to buy a solid coffin made of the wood of cypress trees. Ermei’s father decides to go into the woods to cut down a cypress tree himself – and is fined by the government. To find a way out of their predicament, the family decides to marry Ermei to another villager named Zhang Suo. The groom’s dowry will solve all the family’s money problems. Ermei, however, has different plans.

Directed by Quan’an Wang | Starring : Nan Yu, Yanbing Liu, Su Yan, Xiaoxia Shi, Zhen Ma | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Paris Film Festival, La Rochelle Film Festival, Karlovy Vary Film Festival, Jakarta Film Festival

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苏州河 | Suzhou River

Suzhou River

The river Suzhou that flows through Shanghai is a reservoir of filth, chaos and poverty, but also a meeting place for memories and secrets. Lou Ye, who spent his youth on the banks of the Suzhou, shows the river as a Chinese Styx, in which forgotten stories and mysteries come together. Mardar, a motorcycle courier in his mid-twenties, rides all over the city with all kinds of packages for his clients. He knows every inch and is successful thanks to the fact that he never asks questions. One day he is asked by a shady alcohol smuggler to deliver his sixteen-year-old daughter, Moudan, to her aunt. Mardar and Moudan grow fond of each other. But their tender happiness is disrupted when Moudan thinks that Mardar has kidnapped her for a ransom. She is so disappointed in him that she jumps off the bridge into the Suzhou River. Mardar is now suspected of murder. When a couple of years later he comes out of jail, he meets the dancer Meimei, an alter-ego of Moudan, and becomes fascinated by her.

Directed by Ye Lou | Starring : Xun Zhou, Hongshen Jia, Zhongkai Hua, Anlian Yao, An Nai | Presented at Rotterdam Film Festival, Göteborg Film Festival, Paris Film Festival, Karlovy Vary Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, Reykjavik Film Festival, Pusan Film Festival, Bergen Film Festival, Gij­­ón Film Festival

天浴 | Xiu Xiu: The Sent-Down Girl

Xiu Xiu

Liyan and Yuwen live in post-war torpor, childless but with Liyan’s school-aged sister. He coughs, imagining he has tuberculosis; Yuwen embroiders; they sleep in separate rooms. A surprise visit from Liyan’s boyhood friend Zhang, a big city physician, wakes up the household. To Zhang’s amazement, he discovers his friend’s wife is his own youthful sweetheart. Possibilities abound: an affair, an arranged marriage of Zhang and Little Sister, now 16, or simply ending ennui and embracing vitality.

Directed by Joan Chen | Starring : Xiaolu Li, Lopsang, Zheng Qian, Jie Gao, Yue Lü | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, Paris Film Festival