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

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色,戒 | Lust, Caution

Lust Caution

Shanghai, 1942. The World War II Japanese occupation of this Chinese city continues in force. Mrs. Mak, a woman of sophistication and means, walks into a café, places a call, and then sits and waits. She remembers how her story began several years earlier, in 1938 China. She is not in fact Mrs. Mak, but shy Wong Chia Chi. With WWII underway, Wong has been left behind by her father, who has escaped to England. As a freshman at university, she meets fellow student Kuang Yu Min. Kuang has started a drama society to shore up patriotism. As the theater troupe’s new leading lady, Wong realizes that she has found her calling, able to move and inspire audiences and Kuang. He convenes a core group of students to carry out a radical and ambitious plan to assassinate a top Japanese collaborator, Mr. Yee. Each student has a part to play; Wong will be Mrs. Mak, who will gain Yees’ trust by befriending his wife and then draw the man into an affair. Wong transforms herself utterly inside and out, and the scenario proceeds as scripted until an unexpectedly fatal twist spurs her to flee. Shanghai, 1941. With no end in sight for the occupation, Wong having emigrated from Hong Kong goes through the motions of her existence. Much to her surprise, Kuang re-enters her life. Now part of the organized resistance, he enlists her to again become Mrs. Mak in a revival of the plot to kill Yee, who as head of the collaborationist secret service has become even more a key part of the puppet government. As Wong reprises her earlier role, and is drawn ever closer to her dangerous prey, she finds her very identity being pushed to the limit…

Directed by Ang Lee | Starring : Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Wei Tang, Joan Chen, Leehom Wang, Chung-Hua Tou | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Calgary Film Festival, Rio de Janeiro Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, Edmonton Film Festival, London Film Festival, Vienna Film Festival, Sao Paulo Film Festival, Valladolid Film Festival, Oslo Film Festival, Göteborg Film Festival

安阳婴儿 | The Orphan of Anyang

Orphan of Anyang

A prostitute from the Northeast, desperate and unable to make ends meet, abandons her baby. An unemployed factory worker decides to take the child for the 200 yuan a month in child support promised by its mother. His early attempts at child-rearing are somewhat painful to watch, but also charming and amusing. Eventually, he and the mother become friendly and it seems that the child will be raised in a sweetly unorthodox family. However, when the woman’s pimp, a local gangster, not only finds out that he may have fathered the child, but also that he is dying of cancer, he decides that he must adopt the baby – and is willing to resort to violence if necessary.

Directed by Chao Wang | Starring : Tianhao Liu, Fuwen Miao, Guilin Sun, Sengyi Yue, Jie Zhu | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Montréal Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, Valladolid Film Festival, Amiens Film Festival, Entrevues Film Festival, Tromso Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Kerala Film Festival, Buenos Aires Film Festival, Jeonju Film Festival, Karlovy Vary Film Festival, Athens Film Festival, Warsaw Film Festival

幸福时光 | Happy Times

Happy Times

Happy Times is a Chinese comedy about human nature when it comes to love and the pursuit of happiness. When a matchmaker sends middle-aged Zhao the perfect wife, he tries to impress her by promising a far more extravagant wedding than he can afford. Then, desperate to make money, Zhao gets mired in a hilarious, tangled mess before he decides to come clean to his fiancée.

Directed by Yimou Zhang | Starring : Benshan Zhao, Jie Dong, Lifan Dong, Biao Fu, Xuejian Li | Presented at Pusan Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, Athens Film Festival, Valladolid Film Festival

一一 | Yi yi: A One and a Two

Yi Yi

With the runaway international acclaim of this film, Taiwanese director Edward Yang could no longer be called Asian cinema’s best-kept secret. Yi Yi swiftly follows a middle-class family in Taipei over the course of one year, beginning with a wedding and ending with a funeral. Whether chronicling middle-aged father NJ’s tenuous flirtations with an old flame or precocious young son Yang-Yang’s attempts at capturing reality with his beloved camera, Yang imbues every gorgeous frame with a deft, humane clarity. Warm, sprawling, and dazzling, this intimate epic is one of the undisputed masterworks of the new century.

Directed by Edward Yang | Starring : Nien-Jen Wu, Elaine Jin, Kelly Lee, Jonathan Chang, Issei Ogata | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Munich Film Festival, Karlovy Vary Film Festival, Sarajevo Film Festival, Telluride Film FestivalToronto Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, Bergen Film Festival, Valladolid Film Festival, Tokyo Film Festival, London Film Festival, Oslo Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Fribourg Film Festival, Singapore Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival, Locarno Film Festival, Cinemanila Film Festival

菊豆 | Ju Dou

Ju Dou

A woman married to the brutal and infertile owner of a dye mill in rural China conceives a boy with her husband’s nephew but is forced to raise her son as her husband’s heir without revealing his parentage in this circular tragedy. Filmed in glowing technicolour, this tale of romantic and familial love in the face of unbreakable tradition is more universal than its setting.

Directed by Yimou Zhang | Starring : Li Gong, Baotian Li, Wei Li, Zhang Yi, Xingli Niu | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, New York Film Festival, London Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, Valladolid Film Festival, Melbourne Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival