最爱 | Til Death Do Us Part

Love for Life

The peacefulness of a rural village has been disrupted by an outbreak of a disease, which the locals call ‘a fever’. Villagers learn very quickly that there is no cure for the disease and refuse to have anything to do with the infected. Lao Zhuzhu is a teacher at the now-abandoned village school and the father of Zhao Qiquan, the blood merchant responsible for causing the outbreak. He decides to make amendments to the villagers on behalf of his unrepentant son by inviting all the infected villagers, including his younger son, Zhao Deyi, to live with him at the village school, where they will look after one another. One day, Shang Qinqin, donning a red jacket, arrives at the school compound to join the small community…

Directed by Changwei Gu | Starring : Ziyi Zhang, Aaron Kwok, Wenli Jiang, Zeru Tao, Cunxin Pu | Presented at Rome Film Festival

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让子弹飞 | Let the Bullets Fly

Let the Bullets Fly

Set during the Age of the Warlords in the 1920s, this comic western is the highest grossing Chinese film ever. When circumstances force an outlaw to impersonate a county governor and clean up a corrupt town, the Robin Hood figure finds himself in a showdown with the local “godfather”. Full of surprises and grounded with a smart, humorous script, Let the Bullets Fly’s battles are fought with guns and wit.a

Directed by Wen Jiang | Starring : Wen Jiang, Yun-Fat Chow, You Ge, Bing Shao, Fan Liao | Presented at Tribeca Film Festival, Locarno Film Festival, Pusan Film Festival, London Film Festival

太阳照常升起 | The Sun Also Rises

The Sun Also Rises

Wen Jiang’s personality takes center stage in The Sun Also Rises, his first effort since the 2000 Devils on the Doorstep, a film that has yet to be released in China. While The Sun Also Rises captivates with its sumptuous colors, magical realism, high energy, and outstanding performances, its elliptical plot and lack of coherent narrative suggests that Jiang may have purposely clouded the film’s meaning in symbols and code to escape the Chinese censors. Loosely based on author Ye Mi’s novel Velvet, the film is set in China during the Cultural Revolution. There are four stories and six characters in the film, but they have a tenuous connection to each other. Three episodes are set in the 1970s and one twenty years earlier, but Jiang provides no intertitles or other indicators to help the viewer recognize changes in theme, time, or place. As the film opens with a tableau of gorgeous colors and people running, a young woman identified as the mother of a teenage boy buys a pair of embroidered shoes. The colorful shoes are promptly stolen by a mysterious bird, which repeats the mantra “I know, I know, I know,” and the woman falls into what seems to be madness—climbing trees, collecting rocks, digging a pit in the middle of the forest, and screaming the name of Alyosha (which we eventually learn was the name of the boy’s father). Meanwhile her dutiful son tries to protect her, at the cost of having to constantly leave his job. The segment is playful, magical, and poetic in its songs and poetry, and it suggests that insanity reigned supreme during the Cultural Revolution.

Directed by Wen Jiang | Starring : Wen Jiang, Joan Chen, Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, Jaycee Chan, Wei Kong | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Changchun Film Festival, Tokyo Film Festival, Locarno Film Festival

一个陌生女人的来信 | Letter from an Unknown Woman

Letter From an Unknown Woman

A man rides home through a war-ridden city. A letter waits for him at home. It’s a letter written by a woman before her death. In it, she tells him that she loves him, a lifelong passion that hasn’t lessened with time, but of which he knew nothing. She recounts their short but passionate young love – to him, simply one more brief romance among many; the difficulties she had in raising their child; and their final meeting, at which he didn’t recognize her. Now that she has lost her son (the only thread linking her to the man she loved), she no longer has the strength to live on… Shaken by the letter, the man searches his memory for the nameless woman.

Directed by Jinglei Xu | Starring : Jinglei Xu, Wen Jiang, Feihu Sun, Xiaoming Su, Jue Huang | Presented at San Sebastian Film Festival, Seattle Film Festival, Edinburgh Film Festival

茉莉花开 | Jasmine Women

Jasmine Women

Jasmine Women is adapted from the novel Women’s Life by the famous writer Su Tong, whose literary works have been turned into many films, among them Zhang Yimou’s Raise the Red Lantern. Jasmine Women follows a family whose female members from three different generations all experience frustration in marriage, as if the family is cursed. In the 1930s, Mo, brought up by her single mother, develops a romance with the studio manager and is dumped after she gets pregnant. She blames her daughter Li for all her miseries. In the 1960s, Li can no longer put up with her mother Mo and marries a construction worker. Being impotent, Li adopts a child from the orphan named Hua. In the 1980s, Li suspects that her husband has an incestuous affair with Hua. Her husband commits suicide and Li becomes schizophrenic. Hua’s marriage is no better than her mother’s or grandmother’s – her husband finds a mistress and she decides to divorce him although she has already conceived his child…

Directed by Yong Hou | Starring : Ziyi Zhang, Joan Chen, Wen Jiang, Ye Liu, Yi Lu | Presented at Shanghai Film Festival, Tokyo Film Festival, Iceland Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival

天地英雄 | Warriors of Heaven and Earth

Warriors of Heaven and Earth

North of the vast 8th century Tang dynasty Chinese empire, the commercially and culturally priceless silk route is controlled by 36 friendly Buddhist kingdoms. Their are threatened by Turkic nomad tribes, the caravans also by brigand bands. Japanese scholar Lai Qimay not return home until the emperor is satisfied with his missions to retrieve refugees from the barren border lands. The last is competent imperial lieutenant Li, who was proscribed for refusing to execute Turkic prisoners. He now lives among fellow warriors for hire as caravan escorts. Lai Qi and Li reach a gentleman’s agreement to postpone their lethal duel till after the safe arrival of a caravan including a young Buddhist monk and his mysterious freight. When Turkic warlord Khan’s daughter’s hand seals an alliance with brigand sword master An, the only way out is trough the grimly dry Gobi desert.

Directed by Ping He | Starring : Wen Jiang, Kiichi Nakai, Xueqi Wang, Wei Zhao, Bagen Hasi | Presented at Tokyo Film Festival, Melbourne Film Festival, Oslo Film Festival

我和爸爸 | My Father and I

My Father and I

After Xiao Yu’s mother died in an accident, she moved back to live with her birth father who she knows little about. Gradually, they grew to know each other and to accept each other for who they are. They share the unconditional love between a daughter and a father through their happiness and their difficulties.

Directed by Jinglei Xu | Starring : Jinglei Xu, Daying Ye, Xiaoming Su, Qiu Qiu, Yuan Zhang | Presented at Toronto Film Festival