今天的鱼怎么样? | How Is Your Fish Today?

How is your fish today

How Is Your Fish Today? tells the story of a famous screenwriter whose film scripts have all been rejected by Chinese censors. He writes a script about a man named Lin Hao for his producer, who expects it to be a Chinese version of The Fugitive. Upon reading Rao’s arthouse script, the producer rejects it as the worst screenplay he has ever read. Rao is infuriated with the response and kills Lin’s wife. Lin finds out while cheating on his wife and immediately sends Rao a thank you note. Rao is upset that Lin did not get adequately infuriated and kills all of Lin’s dogs. Lin then calls in three Nazis he knew from back in the day to poop all over Rao’s lawn. Rao is discouraged and now sees his mistake. However, Rao does not abandon his story, instead he rewrites it. Rao begins to live through his main character, Lin Hao, as he writes about him fleeing his home on a journey of self-discovery. Hao makes his way to Mohe, as does Rao, and the writer enters his own narrative. Both characters, in a struggle for freedom, have left their homes behind, but while Lin Hao is running away, Hui Rao is searching for something.

Directed by Xiaolu Guo | Starring : Xiaolu Guo, Ning Hao, Hui Rao, Zijiang Yang | Presented at Edinburgh Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Fribourg Film Festival, San Francisco Film Festival, Seattle Film Festival, Karlovy Vary Film Festival, New Zealand Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, Vienna Film Festival

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可可西里 | Mountain Patrol

Mountain Patrol

Kekexili is based on actual events. From Mainland China, the film tells the story of Ga Yu, a reporter from Beijing who in 1996 travels to the eponymous region on the border of Tibet, where some local men have organized a civilian patrol to fight the poachers who are decimating the region’s endangered population of Tibetan antelopes, prized for their pelts, which are then exported, to be sold as (once trendy) shahtoosh shawls. As Ga Yu arrives in a remote town, a member of the patrol has recently been coldly executed by the poachers, and the taciturn leader, Ritai, is heading out on another patrol, determined to find those responsible. Ga Yu convinces Ritai to let him tag along by suggesting that a story in a Beijing newspaper might spur the Chinese government to take more forceful action to protect the antelopes. The group leaves on their perilous, high altitude journey. From the film’s opening, with the aforementioned murder, it’s a harrowing trip. Kekexili captures the deprivation and danger of this harsh land, and the necessary ruggedness of the people who live there, with impeccable clarity. Filmmaker Lu tells his story visually, for the most part, with exemplary economy. He doesn’t spend any more time than needed on characterization. He leaves it to his audience to figure out what motivates Ritai and his team to risk their lives in order to protect the animals. Whatever it is, it’s clear that it goes beyond a mere concern for the environment. Ritai ends up completely possessed with finding the gunmen who slaughtered the most recent herd of antelope. He puts his own and many other lives at risk in this pursuit. At the film’s midpoint, Ritai and his men capture a group of poachers, including a kindly old man who tells the patrolmen that he used to be a shepherd, and was pushed into a life of criminality by hard times. The filmmaker doesn’t judge these characters, any more than he does the film’s would-be heroes. It’s clear that on a thematic level, Lu’s primary interest is human, rather than environmental.

Directed by Chuan Lu | Starring : Duobuji, Lei Chang, Liang Qi, Xueying Zhao, Zhanlin Ma | Presented at Tokyo Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival, Seattle Film Festival, Cinemanila Film Festival, Montréal Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, Warsaw Film Festival, Marrakech Film Festival, Kerala Film Festival

好大一对羊 | Two Great Sheep

Two Great Sheep

The film follows a peasant couple, Zhao Deshan and his wife Xiuzhi, living in rural Yunnan province near Zhaotong in southern China. Their lives are thrown into upheaval when the local mayor “rewards” them with two foreign sheep donated by a former villager, now an official in Beijing. The couple is then tasked with breeding the sheep for their wool and to bring prosperity to their small community. Much to their chagrin, the sheep do not take to their new environment and the couple are forced into ever more ingenious ways of making the sheep appear greater than they really are. As they do so, they also come to value the sheep as companions in their family. When it becomes clear that the two “great” sheep are not the boon they were thought to be, the local authorities repossess the animals.

Directed by Hao Lui | Starring : Yunkun Sun, Zhikun Jiang, Dajiang Chen, Shengling Zhao | Presented at Toronto Film Festival, Pusan Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival, Seattle Film Festival

世界 | The World

The World

Set in World Park—a Beijing theme park featuring replicas of 106 must-see sites from 14 countries—The World is a deeply-affecting story of love, spectacle and social injustice set against a backdrop of intensifying globalisation. Here the pretty young dancer Tao lives out her dreams, performing hourly for the amusement of the tourists. Behind the glittering costumes the dancers’ lives are a finely-tuned choreography of changing personal relationships. Amid the opportunities of a rapidly-urbanising ‘new China’ where assurance is only a text-message away, hopes and dreams flourish. But disappointment stalks, and Tao realises the isolated theme park is not immune to the harsh realities of life. One of the most important films by the leading director of the China’s Sixth Generation, The World is Jia’s first film to have offical sanction from the Chinese Government.

Directed by Zhang Ke Jia | Starring : Tao Zhao, Taisheng Chen, Hongwei Wang, Sanming Han, Jing Dong Liang | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, New York Film Festival, London Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival, Las Palmas Film Festival, Wisconsin Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival, Buenos Aires Film Festival, Seattle Film Festival, Rio de Janeiro Film Festival, Reykjavik Film Festival, Sao Paulo Film Festival

一个陌生女人的来信 | Letter from an Unknown Woman

Letter From an Unknown Woman

A man rides home through a war-ridden city. A letter waits for him at home. It’s a letter written by a woman before her death. In it, she tells him that she loves him, a lifelong passion that hasn’t lessened with time, but of which he knew nothing. She recounts their short but passionate young love – to him, simply one more brief romance among many; the difficulties she had in raising their child; and their final meeting, at which he didn’t recognize her. Now that she has lost her son (the only thread linking her to the man she loved), she no longer has the strength to live on… Shaken by the letter, the man searches his memory for the nameless woman.

Directed by Jinglei Xu | Starring : Jinglei Xu, Wen Jiang, Feihu Sun, Xiaoming Su, Jue Huang | Presented at San Sebastian Film Festival, Seattle Film Festival, Edinburgh Film Festival

哭泣的女人 | Cry Woman

Cry Woman2

Wang Guixiang and her husband are a migrant couple living in Beijing. Wang is eking out a career selling pirated DVDs when disaster strikes and police confiscate her DVD stocks, and her husband is arrested after getting into a fight over a mahjong game. Forced to return to Guizhou, she meets an old boyfriend, who suggests she take a job as a professional mourner. Surprisingly, Wang finds herself very good at her new job as a “cry woman” and soon discovers that her talents are very much in demand.

Directed by Bingjian Liu | Starring : Longjun Li, Qin Liao, Xingkun Wei, Ging Wen, Jiayue Zhu | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Karlovy Vary Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Seattle Film Festival

寻枪 | The Missing Gun

The Misssing Gun

A small-town cop wakes up one morning after a wild night of celebration to discover that his gun – a rare, state-issued firearm loaded with three bullets – is missing. While he attempts to retrace his steps from the previous night – his ex-girlfriend turns up dead, and the bullet appears to be from his gun… Now, in order to clear his name and convince the authorities that he’s not the killer, he must race against time to find the gun before the other two bullets find their next victims. An international cast of exciting and sexy superstars go full-force in Missing Gun – a cool, stylish action thriller abut love and power and one man’s attempt to honor the delicate and explosive balance between the two.

Directed by Chuan Lu | Starring : Wen Jiang, Yujuan Wu, Jing Ning, Shi Liang, Xiaoning Liu | Presented at Pusan Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Göteborg Film Festival, Seattle Film Festival, Moscow Film Festival, Karlovy Vary Film Festival, Cinemanila Film Festival