如梦 | Like a Dream

Like a Dream

A Chinese man living in New York suffers recurring dreams in which he meets an elusive, sorrowful woman. While on business in Shanghai he sees her in a photograph and goes in search of her – but instead finds her doppelgänger, a loud, exuberant factory worker. As they grow close, Max struggles to accept the compromised reality of his dream woman. In this cross-continental romance, Hong Kong–Australian director Clara Law returns to the themes of cultural displacement and identity that often permeate her films. Features an original score by Australian pianist and composer Paul Grabowsky.

Directed by Clara Law | Starring : Daniel Wu, Quan Yuan, A. Kyo Moon | Presented at Hong Kong Film Festival, Melbourne Film Festival

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上海伦巴 | Shanghai Lunba

Shanghai Lunba

The last film of Peng Xiaolian’s Shanghai Trilogy, Shanghai Rumba is based on a true story. The film draws us into 1940’s Shanghai, when Kuomintang’s corruption was at its zenith, while ironically retaining the opulence of its golden age in the film industry. The film is about the making of Crows and Sparrows as well as the difficulties of women’s entry into the society at that time, as told through the story of an actress. Wanyu’s life has been marked by historical turmoil and changes in Shanghai at the time. She is forced to play the role of the good wife after marrying into a wealthy family, but cannot shake off her true calling as a film actress after being inspired by Gone with the Wind. Chosen as a heroine for Crows and Sparrows and free from her stifling and restricted life, her dream comes true. Wanyu falls in love with Ah Chuan, who plays opposite her in the film. But he gives up her love because of the burdens his family has imposed on him. They part ways and meet again on the set of a film several years later. The life of an actress, who never gives up her dream and love in the mist of turmoil, unfolds through the alternating focus on the inside and outside of the 1940’s Shanghai film scene. Though based on a true story, this is the most glamorous and dramatic of Peng’s films.

Directed by Xiaolian Peng | Starring : Quan Yuan, Yu Xia, Yi Guan, Jie Cui, Xin Gao | Presented at N/A

蓝色爱情 | A Love of Blueness

A Love of Blueness2

Rookie policeman Tai Lin yearned to be an artist before he failed an examination and followed in his father’s footsteps. One day he interrupts an apparent suicide attempt by a woman standing on the edge of a bridge. He detains her when she claims to have murdered her husband, despite her protests that it’s all a joke. It turns out that Liu Yun is a performance artist, but Tai Lin is not amused and is glad to be rid of her when she is released.

Directed by Jianqi Huo | Starring : Yueming Pan, Rujun Ten, Quan Yuan, Gang Wang, Yong Dong | Presented at Montréal Film Festival, Cairo Film Festival

上海纪事 | Once Upon a Time in Shanghai

Once upon a Time in Shanghai

The film begins in the fall of 1948 and ends in the winter of 1950 in Shanghai. What happened in Shanghai when the Kuomintang and the Communist Party of China were at war, in other words, during the Chinese Civil War? Peng returns to this most confusing time in Shanghai and pulls out the history of those days. The protagonists are mainly Huirong, Zhaobai, and Jikan, who have studied business management in the USA and have returned to their hometown, Shanghai. Huirong and Zhaobai are engaged, and although three of them are close friends, problems arise when they find out that their opinions clash on the matter of what the objective for building a new China should be and what direction it should take. Huirong is an anti-American communist who protects his father’s factory in order to clothe the Chinese people in Chinese clothes, while Jikan is an economist working at the Ministry of Finance of the Kuomintang, and Huirong’s husband Zhaobai is a freelance photographer for foreign media. The film dramatizes just how past friends are divided into the anti-American communist woman and the Kuomintang man, and an observing man who watches all the confusion, in the midst of all the chaos of the times, the ban on gold trading, inflation, and the anti-Kuomintang students’ movement, and how they fall into the pit of history where they kill each other and are killed. The nightline of Shanghai today which continues to shine beyond Zhaobai, the only survivor, seems even more superficial. By continuously making use of night scenes and hazy smoke, this is an epic that illustrates the reality of Shanghai, which has fallen into a deep pit, and the future of China at the time, hidden behind thick smoke.

Directed by Xiaolian Peng | Starring : Ya’nan Wang, Quan Yuan, Shaoan Dai, Li Wei, Guochun Wei | Presented at N/A

头发乱了 | Dirt

Dirt

Four childhood friends are reunited in Beijing when one of them returns to live there while studying nursing. Ye Tong, who relishes the idea of returning here to touch the past, narrates this tale of lives that intertwine again. In childhood, they had played in the alleyway of their connected homes; as adults, the alley is a place of danger and threats. Director Guan Hu uses this story to herald the emergence of a new generation of filmmakers in China. Dirt uses the rising rock music scene in Beijing to depict the Sixth Generation movement that arose after the Tiananmen Square protest of 1989. As the film’s story unfolds, Tong’s life gets complicated as she finds herself attracted to one of her childhood friends, Wei, a local rock band leader. His long, flowing black hair and his lean, muscular body are seductive, and Tong falls for him and his music. Wei lets her play in the band, distracting her from her nursing studies and from the other childhood friends. Tragic realities unfold for these Beijing friends and seal their fate and future.

Directed by Hu Guan | Starring : Lin Kong, Xie Kun, Geng Le, Jia-yi Zhang, Jiali Ding | Presented at N/A