记忆望着我 | Memories Look at Me

Memories Look at Me

Song Fang is the protagonist in her own soberly filmed docudrama, in which she returns from Beijing to the house of her parents in Nanjing. The film is largely set indoors, where Song shares everyday life and many memories with her parents, sister-in-law, brother and niece. Song is always on screen as they talk about relatives living and dead, about more or less successful careers, about old friends, illnesses and accidents, funerals and weddings. A young niece, Diandian, makes disarming comments that provide a lighter note. Between the conversations – that often take place around food – and rare excursions, we catch a glimpse of changing Chinese society. It is obvious that the norms and values of the older generation are being devalued, but that some deep-rooted traditions will probably continue for a very long time.

Directed by Fang Song | Starring : Yu-zhu Ye, Di-jing Song, Fang Song, Song Yuan | Presented at Locarno Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Mar del Plata Film Festival, Entrevues Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Portland Film Festival, San Francisco Film Festival

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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

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

图雅的婚事 | Tuya’s Marriage

Tuya's Wedding

Living conditions are deteriorating for those who lead a rural existence in north-western Mongolia. China’s industry is expanding – even into this inhospitable region – and the government is pressurising Monoglian shepherds to give up their nomadic way of life, move to the nearby towns and settle down as farmers. Beautiful and self-confident Tuya refuses to leave her pastureland. She’d rather stay here with her disabled husband, two children and one hundred sheep, and continue to pursue a life of privation in the endless expanse of the steppe. But all the hard work begins to take its toll on Tuya. Her husband Bater tries to convince her to divorce him, but Tuya refuses to comply even with his wishes. One day, she falls ill and for the first time begins to consider a divorce, because this would enable her to find someone to help her to look after Bater, the two children and their one hundred sheep. However, none of her suitors are prepared to take on Bater – until Tuya’s old classmate Baolier arrives on the scene. Having found a very nice nursing home for Bater, he persuades Tuya and the children to move to town. But, far away from the steppe and separated from his family, Bater finds it impossible to get used to life at the home. In desperation he slashes his wrists. When the news reaches Tuya, she realises that the time has come for her to act …

Directed by Quan’an Wang | Starring : Nan Yu, Ba’toer, Sen’ge, Zhaya, Bao’lier | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, Karlovy Vary Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, Rio de Janeiro Film Festival, London Film Festival, Portland Film Festival, Florida Film Festival, Wisconsin Film Festival, Maui Film Festival

夜宴 | The Banquet

The Banquet

In 907 AD, the Tang Dynasty is in tatters; infighting snarls the imperial family. Crown Prince Wu Luan loves Little Wan, but his father takes her as his Empress. Wu Luan goes into exile, studying dance and music. His uncle murders his father, taking throne and Empress; uncle sends assassins to kill Wu Luan. The Crown Prince eludes death and comes to court. The Emperor arranges for Little Wan’s coronation and dispatches Wu Luan to a distant land; he then calls for a midnight banquet on the 100th day of his rule. Poison, treachery, Wu Luan’s return, and the love of the innocent Qing for Wu Luan set up the final entanglements. No Fortinbras or Horatio lay the dead to rest.

Directed by Xiaogang Feng | Starring : Ziyi Zhang, You Ge, Daniel Wu, Xun Zhou, Xiaoming Huang | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Bangkok Film Festival, Palm Springs Film Festival, Portland Film Festival, Seattle Film Festival, Dubai Film Festival

20 30 40

20 30 40

Three women in different stages of their lives – 20, 30, 40 – face the hardships of the female existence. Xiao Jie has just turned twenty. She is in Taipei for the first time in her life. Now that she has finally escaped her strict parents she can’t wait to make her dream of becoming a pop star come true. When she meets the rather insensitive manager, Brother Shi, she believes she has at last found someone who will help to ‘foster’ her ambitions. But her new-found independence has unexpectedly dangerous consequences for her emotions… Xiang Xiang, a thirtysomething flight attendant, is caught between two men. In the throes of a passionate affair with a married man, she also has a younger lover… Lily Zhao is a forty-year-old divorcee. She thoroughly enjoys her life as a single woman and happily agrees to one rendezvous after another. One day, Lily – who looks much younger than her age – meets an attractive single man named Jerry. The only snag is that he is currently dating a girl that is the same age as Lily’s own daughter.

Directed by Sylvia Chang | Starring : Sylvia Chang, Rene Liu, Angelica Lee, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Anthony Wong Chau-Sang | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Portland Film Festival

花眼 | Dazzling

Dazzlig

Acclaimed avant-garde filmmaker Li Xin presents his second feature, Dazzling, an imaginative and beautifully-made film about two love-seeking angels and a lonely theater usher longing to return to the light. Wu Gang (Wu Lala) is a theater usher who sticks to the shadows. A pair of angels arrives, seeking five love connections to return them to Heaven, and Wu Gang obliges them by finding love in his daydreams. Slowly, the people encountered by Wu Gang at his job begin to invade his dreams, and soon they become pivotal players in Wu Gang’s intricate, imaginative fantasies of love. All the while, Wu Gang waits in the park for his own love to arrive. Filled with lovely images and inventive storytelling, Dazzling is a unique and uncommonly poetic film that speaks to the emotions and imagination of its audience.

Directed by Xin Lee | Starring : Lala Wu, Jinglei Xu, Xuebing Wang, Ting Mei, Juan Li | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Portland Film Festival