和你在一起 | Together

Together

Chen Kaige, director of the Oscar-nominated Farewell My Concubine, composes a richly imagined and “tender symphony” (Screen International) about love, ambition and destiny in China’s high-pressure world of classical music. Surging with “warmth, humanity and a sense of humor” (The Hollywood Reporter) , this lyrical, enchanting “heartwarmer” (Variety) is a “sure fire crowd pleaser” (Los Angeles Times)! When a violin prodigy Xiaochun and his father head to Beijing seeking fame and fortune, they soon discover a fierce world of cutthroat ambition. But when Xiaochun is “adopted” by a famous music tutor, success finally seems within reach – until a shocking discovery begins to unravel his entire world, and the boy must make the most difficult choice of his life. Can he achieve the fame his father had always hoped for without losing the extraordinary passion that sets him apart?

Directed by Kaige Chen | Starring : Peiqi Liu, Yun Tang, Hong Chen, Zhiwen Wang, Kaige Chen | Presented at Toronto Film Festival, San Sebastian Film Festival, Florida Film Festival, Philadelphia Film Festival, Istanbul Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, Moscow Film Festival, Copenhagen Film Festival, Bergen Film Festival

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西洋镜 | Shadow Magic

Shadow Magic

Director Ann Hu’s arthouse drama tells the story of Raymond, an itinerant Englishman who is the first to bring motion pictures to China. While conservatives frown upon the Western invention, the images are a marvel to peasants and royalty alike. Raymond’s hand-cranked projector casts images that all at once threaten and amaze the Chinese audience, many of whom have a difficult time reconciling technology and tradition.

Directed by Ann Hu | Starring : Yu Xia, Jared Harris, Peiqi Liu, Liping Lü, Yufei Xing | Presented at Toronto Film Festival, Tokyo Film Festival

二嫫 | Ermo

Ermo

Ermo is a film that revolves around a self-assertive peasant woman named Ermo, who is sexually frustrated because of her impotent husband. Ermo feels unwanted and becomes passionate about money, which becomes the substitution of her sexual needs. Frustrated by her neighbor’s privileged status as the only one who owns a 27-inch TV in the village, Ermo becomes obsessed with buying a 29-inch TV. Driven by her desire, Ermo transforms from a rural woman who sells twisted noodles in a local market to a consumer of Western cultural products such as TV programs. At the end the film, Ermo validates her life’s worth with the 29-inch colored TV, a television so big and expensive that even the head of the county cannot afford. However, the void in Ermo’s soul is left unfilled after she worked so hard and spent all her money on the TV. The big TV does not bring her happiness in the end. The film ends with an ironic scene where Ermo goes back to the local market and starts to make her living as a seller of twisted noodles again. The film director uses Ermo’s quest for a TV set to show the inevitable cultural disruptions and the struggle of the individual in a consumer society, which are caused by China’s modernization under its economic reform during the early 1990s. The film director uses one woman’s pursuit of “televisuality” as a social commentary on China’s collective national agenda of modernization and globalization under Deng Xiaoping. The film criticizes the capitalistic consumer culture, where everybody is struggling for material goods and become obsessed with money.

Directed by Xiaowen Zhou | Starring : Liya Ai, Peiqi Liu, Zhijun Ge, Haiyan Zhang, Zhenguo Yan | Presented at Locarno Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival

秋菊打官司 | The Story of Qiu Ju

Qiu Ju

With The Story of Qiu Ju, internationally acclaimed Chinese director Zhang Yimou shifts his attention from powerful historical dramas to contemporary life. Gong Li plays the titular heroine, an average woman in a rural village whose life is unexceptional until her husband is physically attacked by the village elder. When the elder refuses to apologize, Qiu Ju decides to seek legal action with the help of a local magistrate. Soon, her quest for simple justice balloons into a series of frustrating battles with a complicated and unproductive bureaucracy. In contrast to the rich, painterly look of his previous films, Zhang adopts an unadorned, realistic style that allows the film’s increasingly absurd situations to speak for themselves. Indeed, while the look at government gone wrong has serious underpinnings, the overall tone remains one of understated satire. As might be expected, The Story of Qiu Ju was received with greater appreciation by international critics than in its home country.

Directed by Yimou Zhang | Starring : Li Gong, Kesheng Lei, Peiqi Liu, Liuchun Yang, Zhijun Ge | Presented at Venice Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, Febio Film Festival