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

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山楂树之恋 | Under the Hawthorn Tree

Under the Hawthorne Tree

The People’s Republic of China during the Cultural Revolution. Jing, a college student from town, is sent to a remote mountain village for ‘reeducation’. Jing is the personification of innocence. But her father has been put behind bars for being a ‘counter-revolutionary’ and so now Jing’s mother must try to support her three children on her own. Jing knows that not only her own future but that of her family now depends on how the authorities judge her efforts to be ‘reeducated’. Jing’s careful and inconspicuous behaviour comes to an end, however, when she falls in love with Sun, the engaging son of a high ranking officer. Given their completely different backgrounds, their love is not only hopeless, it is also dangerous. But their mutual attraction proves to be stronger than any of these obstacles. At first Jing resists Sun’s advances, but he refuses to give up, even when she returns to town. Before long, the two young people are passionately – but secretly – in love. Nobody must find out – least of all Jing’s mother, who already fears for her daughter’s future. But then Sun suddenly disappears, and when he reappears, something about him has changed. Jing has to rethink her perception of love, honour and loyalty. And stand up for her real beliefs.

Directed by Yimou Zhang | Starring : Dongyu Zhou, Shawn Dou, Meijuan Xi, Xuejian Li, Taisheng Chen | Presented at Pusan Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, Melbourne Film Festival, Rio de Janeiro Film Festival, Valladolid Film Festival, Tateshina Kogen Film Festival

左右 | In Love We Trust

In Love We Trust

A divorced couple learns that the only way to save their little daughter, who suffers from a blood disease, is to have another child. Now both remarried, Mei Zhu and Xiao Lu are forced to test their love and their commitment to one another by putting their current relationships in danger. A story of parenthood, love, married life, betrayal, trust and giving, which touches upon changes in contemporary society and family life, as well as the moral and ethical dilemmas brought on by modernity.

Directed by Xiaoshuai Wang | Starring : Weiwei Liu, Jia-yi Zhang, Nan Yu, Taisheng Chen, Yuanyuan Gao | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival, Karlovy Vary Film Festival, Pula Film Festival, Ghent Film Festival, Locarno 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