我十一 | 11 Flowers

11 Flowers

One of China’s foremost Sixth Generation directors, Wang Xiaoshuai (Beijing Bicycle, Shanghai Dreams) tells a striking, autobiographical coming-of-age tale set in the final days of China’s Cultural Revolution. Eleven-year-old Wang Han lives with his family in a remote village in Guizhou province. When Wang is selected to lead his school through their daily gymnastic regiment, his teacher recommends that he wear a clean, new shirt in honor of this important position – a request that forces his family to make a great sacrifice.

Directed by Xiaoshuai Wang | Starring : Ni Yan, Jinchun Wang, Wenqing Liu, Renlang Qiao, Yi Zi | Presented at Toronto Film Festival, San Sebastian Film Festival, Pusan Film Festival, Tokyo Film Festival, Les Arcs Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Göteborg Film Festival, Istanbul Film Festival, Taipei Film Festival, St. Louis Film Festival, Fribourg Film Festival

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二十四城记 | 24 City

24 City

A masterful film from Jia Zhang-ke, the renowned director chronicles the dramatic closing of a once-prosperous state-owned aeronautics factory in Chengdu, a city in Southwest China, and its conversion into a sprawling luxury apartment complex. Bursting with poetry, pop songs and striking visual detail, the film weaves together unforgettable stories from three generations of workers – some real, some played by actors – into a vivid portrait of the human struggle behind China’s economic miracle.

Directed by Zhang Ke Jia | Starring : Tao Zhao, Joan Chen, Jianbin Chen, Liping Lü | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Sao Paulo Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, London Film Festival, Mar del Plata Film Festival, Torino Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Glasgow Film Festival, Cleveland Film Festival, Wisconsin Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival, Rio de Janeiro Film Festival, St. Louis Film Festival

落叶归根 | Getting Home

Getting Home

Zhao is an ageing worker who toils away in Shenzen in order to earn a living. When his friend and colleague Wang suddenly dies, Zhao decides to transport his body back to his native town. He purchases two tickets for the cross-country bus, and pretends that his silent travelling companion has drunk so much alcohol that he has fallen unconscious. Shortly afterwards, the bus is attacked by armed bandits. Zhao asks the bandits to kill him first, so that he can stay with his dead friend forever. Touched by this display of loyalty, the robbers decide to let the bus go. But instead of thanking Zhao, the other passengers throw him and his dead friend off the bus. Pretending that his friend is seriously ill and must be taken to hospital immediately, Zhao tries to flag down passing cars. After spending the night in a hotel, Zhao discovers that all his money has been stolen and begins to lose heart. But he refuses to be browbeaten. Whenever he needs money, he rearranges Wong so that he looks like a beggar. And whenever he is hungry, he joins a funeral party and bawls his eyes out so that he can enjoy the food served at the wake. During his odyssey across China Zhao is obliged to get along with all kinds of people. Just before he reaches his destination, the old man and his dead friend are caught in a torrential downpour, so that now Zhao finds himself engaged in a struggle against nature.

Directed by Yang Zhang | Starring : Benshan Zhao, Dandan Song, Degang Guo, Haiying Sun, Ma Wu | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Bangkok Film Festival, Cinemanila Film Festival, Vladivostok Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, St. Louis Film Festival, Kerala Film Festival, Wisconsin Film Festival, Edmonton Film Festival

红颜 | Dam Street

Dam Street

A young woman’s indiscretion causes tremendous sufffering for her family. When, years later, she is still ostracized in the small, riverside town in China where her family lives, she resigns herself to singing with a shabby song-and-dance troupe. Her family relationships are strained and her personal life is in disarray when the young woman forms a friendship with a fiercely protective ten-year-old boy who lives across the dam. As her prospects for the future finally begin to improve, her relationship with the boy is tested, and she must come to terms with her unresolved past.

Directed by Yu Li | Starring : Yi Liu, Xingrao Huang, Kechun Li, Yizhi Wang, Li Fang | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Edinburgh Film Festival, Ghent Film Festival, Vienna Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival, Melbourne Film Festival, St. Louis Film Festival

益西卓玛 | Song of Tibet

Song of Tibet

Stunningly shot on real locations, Song of Tibet is much as its title sounds – a wistful, sometimes clunky melodrama with lots of ethnographic detail that’s a modern take on the ethnic-minority pics that China has cranked out since the ’50s. Helmer/co-scripter Xie Fei’s eye for colorful realism has always been stronger than his grasp of human drama, and this is no exception. Pic centers on a Tibetan woman, Yixizhuoma, and her turbulent marriage to a proud warrior type, Jiacuo, across half a century. Now in her 70s and with Jiacuo dying from lung cancer, Yixizhuoma recalls her story in flashback when visited by her granddaughter from Beijing: how Jiacuo kidnapped her as a young woman, how they fell in love on the flowery plains, how she was separated from her family in the stormy late ’50s, and how she finally found Jiacuo in the mountains in the early ’70s. With 90% of the dialogue in Tibetan, and not a Chinese or any politics in sight, this is escapist melodrama that’s an undemanding time-passer.

Directed by Fei Xie | Starring : Dawangdui, Danzengzhuoga, Laqiong, Renqingdunzhu, Dazhen | Presented at Chicago Film Festival, Pusan Film Festival, Palm Springs Film Festival, St. Louis Film Festival