另一半 | The Other Half

The Other Half

Xiaofen works as a clerk in a law office in the industrial city of Zigong. Her unending daily routine is to record clients’ claims, complaints and arguments in cases ranging from divorces and spousal abuse to medical malpractice and industrial accidents. Xiaofen’s life has its own crises: her boyfriend, Deng Gang, is released from prison but quickly gives in to the gambling bug that put him there; her mother pressures her into a date with a suitor whose main interest is showing her bland business photos on his laptop computer; and she finally meets her estranged father. All these incidents build to a momentum when Deng Gang is suspected of murder and disappears, and the city is threatened by toxic pollution after an explosion in a chemical plant. In the ensuing evacuation, many people go missing. Uncertain of her future, Xiafen walks down empty streets while a public address system intones the names of the missing. The enigmatic end sequence seems to plead for a reverse of this erosion and loss of community, and suggests that some good may come from all this misfortune. With deadpan humor, deeply felt sensitivity and social commentary, director Ying Liang establishes the authorial voice promised in his short films and first feature, Taking Father Home. Here, he cleverly mixes major and minor crises, personal and political dilemmas, to create a chilling reflection on life today.

Directed by Liang Ying | Starring : Xiaofei Zeng, Gang Deng, Ke Zhao, Xigui Chen, Huibin Liu | Presented at Jeonju Film Festival, Singapore Film Festival, San Francisco Film Festival, Munich Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival, San Sebastian Film Festival

背鸭子的男孩 | Taking Father Home

Taking Father Home

Traveling with no money and only two ducks as collateral, Xu Yun walks into an urban jungle of gangsters and thieves, throwing his life into danger. He earns the sympathy and support of streetwise hustler Scar and a cynical policeman. Both help Xu Yun find clues to the whereabouts of his father, but their efforts are dashed by a 24-hour flood warning forcing the sudden evacuation of the entire city. Will Xu Yun find his father in time, and if so, will he bring his father back home? Winner of several international festival awards, Taking Father Home is the debut feature of radical independent filmmaker Ying Liang, who borrowed equipment and recruited friends and family to realize his fierce vision of an emotionaly scarred society. The film presents “a side of China that is rarely, if ever, seen on film.

Directed by Liang Ying | Starring : Yun Xu, Xiaopei Liu, Jie Wang, Cijun Song | Presented at Rotterdam Film Festival, Fribourg Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival, Singapore Film Festival, San Francisco Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, London Film Festival, Cleveland Film Festival

无穷动 | Perpetual Motion

Perpetual Motion

Four mature and successful women, epitomizing today’s Chinese high society, meet on the Spring Festival’s eve in the opulent mansion of Niuniu, an established editor of fashion magazines. While the party enfolds, the four friends have the chance to open up their hearts, for the first time in their life, and to reveal the traumas deriving from a dramatic past. Political events, family tragedies, sentimental affairs, which seemed deeply buried beneath the modern facade of these successful women, mark in reality all of their lives. A film dealing with women sexuality and questioning the past generation of old revolutionaries, with a touch of black-humor in the signature style of director Ning Ying.

Directed by Ying Ning | Starring : Huang Hung, Qinqin Li, Sola Liu, Yanni Ping, Hanzhi Zhang | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Mar del Plata Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival, Singapore Film Festival

蔓延 | Pirated Copy

Pirated Copy

Set against the backdrop of the contemporary black market for pirated DVDs in Beijing, Pirated Copy is a character-driven drama about the passion two couples have for each other and for film. It “demonstrates that [He is] one of the most interesting and versatile directors among China’s ‘Sixth Generation’”

Directed by Jianjun He | Starring : Bo Yu, Yamei Wang, Xiaoguang Hu, Narenqimuge, Yong Zhang | Presented at Vienna Film Festival, Singapore Film Festival

不散 | Goodbye Dragon Inn

Goodbye Dragon Inn

A Japanese tourist takes refuge from a rainstorm inside a once-popular movie theater, a decrepit old barn of a cinema that is screening a martial arts classic, King Hu’s 1966 “Dragon Inn.” Even with the rain bucketing down outside, it doesn’t pull much of an audience – and some of those who have turned up are less interested in the movie than in the possibility of meeting a stranger in the dark.

Directed by Ming-liang Tsai | Starring : Kang-sheng Lee, Shiang-chyi Chen, Kiyonobu Mitamura, Tien Miao, Chao-jung Chen | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, Pusan Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Vienna Film Festival, Tokyo Film Festival, London Film Festival, Hawaii Film Festival, Stockholm Film Festival, Oslo Film Festival, Nantes Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Febio Film Festival, Belgrade Film Festival, Wisconsin Film Festival, Buenos Aires Film Festival, Istanbul Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival, Singapore Film Festival, Munich Film Festival, La Rochelle Film Festival, Maine Film Festival

任逍遥 | Unknown Pleasures

Unknown Pleasures

Unknown Pleasures, sequel to the widely praised Platform, again focuses on a generation of Chinese kids. In fragmentary observations, Jia sketches a picture of the lethargy of today’s youth, a generation that has grown up with technological gadgets, advertising and Internet. Jia refers to moments in the eventful year 2001, when an unemployed man blew up a whole building and the Olympic Summer Games of 2008 were granted to Beijing. In as far as the scenes were not improvised, the script of the film was inspired by work of the philosopher Zhuangzi, a Taoist who argues in favour of enjoying the (unknown) pleasures of life. The two unemployed kids Xiao Ji and Bin Bin have plenty of time for pleasures like hanging out and falling in love. In the case of Xiao Ji the subject of his affections is Qiao Qiao, a dancer and model for an advertising campaign for a major Mongolian brand of drink. The fact that Qiao Qiao has a dangerous friend does not make much impression on Xiao Ji: he takes his inspiration from American crime films and most wants to die young. Bin Bin does not have much faith in the future either. His girlfriend is going to Beijing to study. She wants to become a businesswoman, while Bin Bin’s ambitions do not extend any further than karaoke and cartoons.

Directed by Zhang Ke Jia | Starring : Tao Zhao, Wei Wei Zhao, Qiong Wu, Hongwei Wang, Zhubin Li | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Belgrade Film Festival, Istanbul Film Festival, Singapore Film Festival, San Sebastian Film Festival

美丽时光 | The Best of Times

The Best of Times

Chang Tso-Chi’s film begins like a comedy about an extended family but turns into a reflection on the tragedy that befalls cousins Ah Wei and Ah Jie, a funny but troubled youth whose first job puts him in touch with a gun. Family patriarch, Ah Wei’s dad, is goaded by granny about gambling away the family’s money while Ah Jei’s father repetitively recounts his dishonorable discharge from the army decades earlier. The two men spend their evenings getting drunk, suggesting that Ah Wei and Ah Jei’s fates may have been better met young. Tragedy also befalls Ah Wei’s twin sister who suffers from leukemia, but Chang uses expressionistic, slightly comic allegory to end his film on an up note.

Directed by Tso-chi Chang | Starring : Wing Fan, Meng-jie Gao, Wan-mei Yu, Mao-ying Tien, Yu-Chih Wu | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival, Palm Springs Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Singapore Film Festival