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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三枪拍案惊奇 | A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop

A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop

Master director Yimou Zhang tackles an adaptation of the Coen brothers’ classic Blood Simple in this period dramedy full of slapstick and plot twists. When the owner of a Chinese noodle shop attempts to kill his adulterous wife, the fireworks fly. The proprietor also hopes to eliminate his wife’s woebegone lover, but complications and high-flying action arise courtesy of a rampaging band of feudal soldiers and the shop’s wacky employees.

Directed by Yimou Zhang | Starring : Honglei Sun, Ni Yan, Xiao Shen-Yang, Dahong Ni, Benshan Zhao | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Athens Film Festival, Helsinki Film Festival, Rio de Janeiro Film Festival, Edmonton Film Festival, Sitges Film Festival, Sao Paulo Film Festival, Mar del Plata 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

千里走单骑 | Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles

Riding Alone

In a village of fishermen in Japan, Takata misses his son Kenichi, to whom he has been estranged for many years. When his daughter-in-law Rie tells him that Kenichi is sick in the hospital, she suggests Takata to come to Tokyo to visit his son in the hospital where he would have the chance to retie the relationship. However, Kenichi refuses to receive his father in his room, and Rie gives a videotape to Takata to know about the work of his son. Once at home, Takata sees a documentary in the remote village Lijiang, in the province of Younnan, about the passion of Kenichi, the Chinese opera, where the lead singer Li Jiamin promises to sing an important folk opera on the next year. When Rie calls Takata to tell that her husband has a terminal liver cancer, Takata decides to travel to Lijiang to shoot Li Jiamin singing the opera to give to Kenichi.

Directed by Yimou Zhang | Starring : Ken Takakura, Shinobu Terajima, Kiichi Nakai, Lin Qiu, Zhenbo Yang | Presented at Tokyo Film Festival, Morelia Film Festival, Rome Film Festival

十面埋伏 | House of Flying Daggers

House of Flying Daggers

Towards the end of the Tang dynasty, the Emperor’s rule is waning and corruption is rife, and many groups are formed in society to challenge the authorities. Out of all the groups, the most powerful is The House Of Flying Daggers. The government decides to send Feng Tian County’s top captains Leo and Jin to capture the new leader within 10 days. Leo suspects that Mei, the beautiful new dancer at the Peony Pavilion, is the daughter of the old leader, and Leo decides to send Jin disguised as a warrior called Wind to rescue Mei, and to ensnare her trust so she’ll lead them to the secret headquarters of The House Of Flying Daggers. But as Jin and Mei spend more time together, they begin to develop feelings and desire for each other. However danger is lurking from all corners, and can Jin and Mei really love each other when there are secrets being hidden from both sides?

Directed by Yimou Zhang | Starring : Ziyi Zhang, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Andy Lau, Dandan Song, Jun Guo | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, Copenhagen Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, San Sebastian Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Bergen Film Festival, Vienna Film Festival, London Film Festival, AFI Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival, Dublin Film Festival, Iceland Film Festival, Cairo Film Festival, Istanbul Film Festival

英雄 | Hero

Hero

Director Zhang Yimou brings the sumptuous visual style of his previous films (Raise the Red Lantern, Shanghai Triad) to the high-kicking kung fu genre. A nameless warrior arrives at an emperor’s palace with three weapons, each belonging to a famous assassin who had sworn to kill the emperor. As the nameless man spins out his story—and the emperor presents his own interpretation of what might really have happened—each episode is drenched in red, blue, white or another dominant color. Hero combines sweeping cinematography and superb performances from the cream of the Hong Kong cinema (Maggie Cheung, Irma Vep; Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, In the Mood for Love). The result is stunning, a dazzling action movie with an emotional richness that deepens with every step.

Directed by Yimou Zhang | Starring : Jet Li, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Maggie Cheung, Ziyi Zhang, Donnie Yen | Presented at Palm Springs Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, Jerusalem Film Festival, Edda Film Festival, Marrakech Film Festival, Ghent Film Festival, Brothers Manaki Film Festival, Sao Paulo Film Festival, Istanbul 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