白鹿原 | White Deer Plain

White Deer Plain

Wang Quan’an’s epic takes place towards the end of imperial China in a period of dramatic political and social upheaval. The film is set in the eponymous White Deer Village in Shaanxi Province where the two most important families – Bai and Lu – and their sons have always lived together in peace. But the turmoil leads to a fierce struggle for land ownership. A young woman new to the village soon finds herself caught between the two camps. Director Wang Quan’an uses the story of these two families as a metaphor for the fate of the Chinese people as first Chinese war lords are overrun by Japanese invaders, then civil war follows hot on the heels of the Second World War and finally the victorious Maoists begin waving their red flags. White Deer Plain is an adaptation of an historical novel of the same name by Chen Zhongshi which was blacklisted for many years on account of its explicit sex scenes. As in his earlier works Tuya’s Marriage and Apart Together, Wang Quan’an’s new work focuses once again on the fortunes of a female protagonist. Using her beauty as a way of gaining influence and a means of survival, the heroine of his latest film nonetheless manages to remain true to herself and those she loves.

Directed by Quan’an Wang | Starring : Fengyi Zhang, Kitty Zhang Yuqi, Gang Wu, Wei Liu, Taisheng Chen | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival, Montréal Film Festival

Advertisements

团圆 | Apart Together

Apart Together

Over fifty years after the proclamation of the People’s Republic of China on the Chinese mainland and the founding of the island republic of Taiwan, permission is given for the first time for a group of ex-soldiers of the National People’s Party or Kuomintang to travel from Taiwan to China and be reunited with family members in Shanghai. These soldiers fought bitterly against Communist troops during China’s civil war from 1927 onwards, until they were forced to retreat to Taiwan in 1949. One of the comrades-in-arms travelling with the group to his former home in Shanghai is an ageing soldier named Lui Yansheng. His reason for embarking on this journey is not to see the family members he left behind on the mainland but to find the one and only love of his life, Qiao Yu’e, whom he was obliged to leave behind in Shanghai without a word of farewell, and their son, who was born after he took flight. After having made contact via letter, he manages to arrange a meeting during which he quickly realises that Qiao Yu’e, who has founded a family with an officer in the People’s Liberation Army, still feels the same way about him as before. It’s not hard for Liu Yangsheng to persuade his former partner to go back with him to Taiwan. He hopes that, by promising to leave his entire savings to her husband and their children, he will be able to secure the family’s agreement. But his proposal gives rise to a huge outcry in the family. Qiao Yu’e situation would seem to be quite hopeless – until her husband suffers a brain haemorrhage and almost dies…

Directed by Quan’an Wang | Starring : Lisa Lu, Feng Ling, Cai-gen Xu, Monica Mok, Xiaotian Mo | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Melbourne Film Festival, San Sebastian Film Festival, Sao Paulo Film Festival, Palm Springs Film Festival

纺织姑娘 | Weaving Girl

Weaving Girl

Diagnosed with cancer and unable to afford treatment, a woman decides to leave her unhappy marriage search for her first love in Beijing.

Directed by Quan’an Wang | Starring : Nan Yu, Tao Guo, Zhengwu Cheng, Liv Fuyou, Yongquan Xia | Presented at Montréal Film Festival, Ghent Film Festival, Pusan 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

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

月蚀 | Lunar Eclipse

Lunar Eclipse

A young newlywed has a chance encounter with an enigmatic minivan driver with a passion for photography. When the amateur photographer confesses to her a previous love affair with a woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to the newlywed, the young woman falls under the spell of this soft-spoken, unkempt, and seemingly hapless young man.

Directed by Quan’an Wang | Starring : Nan Yu, Chao Wu, Xiaoguang Hu, Desmond O’Neill | Presented at Shanghai Film Festival, Moscow Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival