上海伦巴 | Shanghai Lunba

Shanghai Lunba

The last film of Peng Xiaolian’s Shanghai Trilogy, Shanghai Rumba is based on a true story. The film draws us into 1940’s Shanghai, when Kuomintang’s corruption was at its zenith, while ironically retaining the opulence of its golden age in the film industry. The film is about the making of Crows and Sparrows as well as the difficulties of women’s entry into the society at that time, as told through the story of an actress. Wanyu’s life has been marked by historical turmoil and changes in Shanghai at the time. She is forced to play the role of the good wife after marrying into a wealthy family, but cannot shake off her true calling as a film actress after being inspired by Gone with the Wind. Chosen as a heroine for Crows and Sparrows and free from her stifling and restricted life, her dream comes true. Wanyu falls in love with Ah Chuan, who plays opposite her in the film. But he gives up her love because of the burdens his family has imposed on him. They part ways and meet again on the set of a film several years later. The life of an actress, who never gives up her dream and love in the mist of turmoil, unfolds through the alternating focus on the inside and outside of the 1940’s Shanghai film scene. Though based on a true story, this is the most glamorous and dramatic of Peng’s films.

Directed by Xiaolian Peng | Starring : Quan Yuan, Yu Xia, Yi Guan, Jie Cui, Xin Gao | Presented at N/A

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漂亮妈妈 | Breaking the Silence

Breaking the Silence

Internationally-renowned actress Gong Li gives a wondrous performance in Breaking the Silence, an emotional drama from director Sun Zhou. Gong Li plays Sun Liying, a stubborn, independent woman struggling with her assigned lot in life. A single mother, she works to raise and educate her deaf son Zheng Da (Gao Xin) without support from her uncaring ex-husband (Guan Yue). Despite living beneath the indifferent shadow of modern Chinese society, Sun Liying gives her all to provide for her child, and her effort proves stirring and dramatic. Sun Zhou gives Breaking the Silence a semi-documentary feel, and humanizes his Chinese lower class subjects without canonizing them. Sun Liying is portrayed as simply a caring, loving mother who wishes the best for her child, and cares little for the politics or social issues of larger China. A refreshingly human film, Breaking the Silence is another milestone performance from Gong Li, whose powerful work earned accolades at film festivals worldwide.

Directed by Zhou Sun | Starring : Li Gong, Xin Gao, Liping Lü, Jing-ming Shi, Yue Guan | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Montreal Film Festival, Hawaii Film Festival