盲探 | Blind Detective

Blind Detective

He used to be a highly gifted police detective but was forced to retire after getting blinded on duty. Since then he earns his living by solving cold cases for the police. She is an up-and-coming hit team detective who has been feeling guilty ever since her childhood friend went missing after she refused to go out with her ten years ago. On witnessing how brilliantly he solves a case, she decides to seek his assistance to find her friend. He accepts the invitation with his own personal agenda in mind.

Directed by Johnnie To | Starring : Andy Lau, Sammi Cheng, Tao Guo, Ying-Ting Yiu, Hoi-Pang Lo | Presented at Cannes Film Festival

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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

万有引力 | The Law of Attraction

The Law of Attraction

Four short exposé on love and attraction of the sexes in the big city: a business traveler is delayed due to the malfunction of the airport’s security device, but unexpectedly it sparks off a romance between him and the security officer; a couple’s marriage is in crisis when the repeated attempt to have a child fails; a traffic accident is in reality a trap set by a jealous husband for punishing his unfaithful wife; and a pair of young junkies trying to start anew.

Directed by Tianyu Zhao | Starring : Karen Mok, Jingchu Zhang, Tao Guo, Leon Dai, Zhang Wen | Presented at Montréal 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

白银帝国 | Empire of Silver

Empire of Silver

With this lush epic Palo Alto–based filmmaker Christina Yao tells a story both timely and timeless: a tale of love, succession and compromised ideals that chronicles the lives of a powerful family of Shanxi bankers during the waning years of the Qing Dynasty. Downright Shakespearean in theme, the film details a little-known piece of Chinese history while offering parallels to the current financial crisis with its shadowy world of unscrupulous market fixing and backroom deals. In the northeastern Chinese province of 19th-century Shanxi, a group of bankers amassed extensive wealth and power that allowed them considerable independence from the state. The fictional Kang family is one such clan, whose fortunes take a sudden turn for the worse when several of the family’s heirs meet tragic fates and civil unrest threatens the nation’s stability. Third Master, a hedonist and the Kang patriarch’s least favorite son, is now called upon to carry on their lineage. Torn between familial obligation and his own desire for love and happiness, he sets out to reform his father’s unethical business practices while shepherding the family through the country’s growing unrest. Full of swooping crane shots, monumental sets and massive landscapes, Yao’s debut recalls the opulent historical sagas of Chinese Fifth Generation filmmakers like Zhang Yimou as it combines a passionate tale of unrequited love and a fascinating glimpse of a rarely related episode in Chinese history.

Directed by Christina Yao | Starring : Aaron Kwok, Tielin Zhang, Lei Hao, Zhicheng Ding, Jennifer Tilly | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Shanghai Film Festival, Hawaii Film Festival, San Francisco Film Festival, Mexico 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

扁担.姑娘 | So Close to Paradise

So Close To Paradise

From one of China’s most talented and controversial young filmmakers comes this striking gangster noir which was banned for 3 years by the Chinese government. Reminiscent of Hollywood’s classic B movies from the 1940’s and 50’s, the film tells the story of two country boys, Gao Ping and Dong Zi, who move to the big city to carve out new lives for themselves. While Dong Zi is content with his menial job hauling boxes around the docks, Gao Ping quickly enters a maze of gangsters, crime, and underworld alliances. When Gao Ping kidnaps and then falls in love with Ruan Hong, a beautiful, seductive nightclub singer, his fate is sealed.

Directed by Xiaoshuai Wang | Starring : Shi Yu, Tao Guo, Tong Wang, Tao Wu | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Auckland Film Festival, Montréal Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, Göteborg Film Festival, Singapore Film Festival