无人驾驶 | Driverless

Driverless

Jia chases love and wanders the streets to defy her father. Zhi Xiong lives a comfortable middle class life, but married life does not go well. Zhi Xiong has an affair with former girlfriend Xiao Yun. Wang Yao lost his daughter in a car accident and a women attempts to help him, but ends up getting hurt. Their interwoven stories all unravel through one accident at an intersection.

Directed by Yang Zhang | Starring : Ye Liu, Yuanyuan Gao, Jianbin Chen, Xiao Ran Li, Luodan Wang | Presented at Shanghai Film Festival, Pusan Film Festival

我们天上见 | We’ll Meet in Heaven

We'll Meet in Heaven

At age 40, mainland Chinese actress Jiang Wenli makes a smooth segue behind the camera with autobiographical coming-of-ager “Lan.” Cultural Revolution-set tale of a young girl, whose dream of becoming a champion gymnast is scuppered by the realities of everyday life and family background, is handled with grace and feeling, and is notably light on the political cliches besetting stories of the era. The audience-award winner at this year’s Pusan fest, this unabashedly old-school movie (in the best sense) is ripe for festival and Euro TV exposure, with some limited theatrical potential as well.

Directed by Wenli Jiang | Starring : Xu Zhu, Jun Yao, Ye Liu, Zhu Yinuo, Sichun Ma | Presented at Pusan Film Festival, Dubai Film Festival

南京!南京! | City of Life and Death

City of Life and Death1

Nanjing, 1937. The third film from award-winning Sixth Generation director Lu Chuan, City of Life and Death is a devastating account of the massacre that occurred during the Sino-Japanese War when Japanese troops took the city of Nanjing in December 1937, a tragedy remembered as the Rape of Nanking. Shot completely in black and white, this powerful war drama unflinchingly captures the shocking violence and brutality of the Nanjing massacre, from the mass executions of POWs to the raping and slaughtering of civilians, while providing a deeply human portrait of both the victims and the perpetrators. Rendered in many shades of gray, City of Life and Death touches on the different people whose lives are destroyed by the war: the Chinese soldiers who gave their lives, the foreign missionaries who sheltered refugees, the comfort women, the Chinese civilians, and the Japanese soldiers. In a surprising move for a Mainland Chinese film about the Rape of Nanking, City of Life and Death is told primarily from the perspective of a Japanese soldier, who witnesses, commits, and abhors the atrocities of his army. By choosing to humanize rather than demonize, Lu Chuan offers an all the more devastating memory of the Nanjing massacre, and the people who lived and died in the City of Life and Death.

Directed by Chuan Lu | Starring : Ye Liu, Yuanyuan Gao, Hideo Nakaizumi, Wei Fan, Lan Qin | Presented at Edinburgh Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, San Sebastian Film Festival, Athens Film Festival, Oslo Film Festival, Hamptons Film Festival, Pusan Film Festival, Warsaw Film Festival, London Film Festival, AFI Film Festival, Mar del Plata Film Festival, Palm Springs Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Seattle Film Festival, Melbourne Film Festival, Helsinki Film Festival

满城尽带黄金甲 | Curse of the Golden Flower

Curse of the Golden Flower

China, Later Tang Dynasty, 10th Century. On the eve of the Chong Yang Festival, golden flowers fill the Imperial Palace. The Emperor returns unexpectedly with his second son, Prince Jai. His pretext is to celebrate the holiday with his family, but given the chilled relations between the Emperor and the ailing Empress, this seems disingenuous. For many years, the Empress and Crown Prince Wan, her stepson, have had an illicit liaison. Feeling trapped, Prince Wan dreams of escaping the palace with his secret love Chan, the Imperial Doctor’s daughter. Meanwhile, Prince Jai, the faithful son, grows worried over the Empress’s health and her obsession with golden chrysanthemums. Could she be headed down an ominous path? The Emperor harbors equally clandestine plans; the Imperial Doctor is the only one privy to his machinations.

Directed by Yimou Zhang | Starring : Yun-Fat Chow, Li Gong, Ye Liu, Jay Chou, Dahong Ni | Presented at Glasgow Film Festival

无极 | The Promise

The Promise

When the world was young, laid a Kingdom between the Land of Snow and the Barbarian Territory where gods and men lived side by side and promises were lies. When the poor and starving orphaned girl Qingcheng meets the Goddess Manshen, she accepts to become the wealthy beauty of beauties with the curse that she would lose every man she loves, unless three things happen: snow falls in the spring, time moves backwards and the dead comes back to life. Years later, the slave Kunlun helps the Great General Master of the Crimson Armor Guangming to defeat a barbarian army with almost seven times more warriors, and Kunlun becomes his slave. When Guangming is wounded, he asks Kunlun to wear his armor and save the king from the cruel Duke of the North Wuhuan that put the Imperial City under siege with his army. However, Kunlun kills the king to save Princess Qingcheng and promises her to never let her die. Princess Qingcheng falls in love for the man of the crimson armor that she believes is General Guangming. When Snow Wolf saves Kunlun and brings him to the Land of Snow, he recollects his childhood when his mother and sister were killed by the evil Wuhuan. Kunlun decides to return to the Kingdom to face Wuhuan and fight for his love.

Directed by Kaige Chen | Starring : Dong-gun Jang, Hiroyuki Sanada, Cecilia Cheung, Nicholas Tse, Ye Liu | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Moscow 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

恋之风景 | The Floating Landscape

The Floating Landscape

Maan has recently lost her lover, Sam, a painter who died tragically of an incurable disease. Before his death, he was remembering a beautiful landscape from the days when he was still a boy living in Qingdao in China. Maan goes to Qingdao to find this landscape. There, she meets Lit, a postman who will help her to find that place. A relationship grows between Maan and Lit but she can’t forget the love she had for Sam.

Directed by Miu-suet Lai | Starring : Kar Yan Lam, Ekin Cheng, Ye Liu, Jin Su, Jue Huang | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Pusan Film Festival, Cinemanila Film Festival